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The surprise of the unexpected is one of the constant allures of American Flag collecting experienced by collectors of all levels. I have seen thousands of thirteen star flags, both old and new, appear for sale over the years. Yet still, on rare occasion, a flag such as this surfaces and I find myself surprised and captivated by yet another rare and novel representation derived from the simple guidance of our forefathers in the First Flag Act of 1777:  that "the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation." 

This thirteen star flag is a true folk art treasure.  Its nearly square proportions and tall, elongated canton are unlike most other surviving early flags.  Flags of this shape, with tall, rectangular cantons, are very rare.  The flag's unique star pattern, in what seems to be a 3-3-3-3 configuration with the thirteenth star inserted between the two center rows, is striking.  The single-appliqué stars are expertly sewn and allowed to rotate or "dance" on the canton.  The flag's beautiful coloration is also notable.  The blue and red somehow seem to match each other perfectly and both remain rich and vibrant.  Overall, the flag's condition is extraordinary, with only minor mothing and wear.  Although the origins of the flag are unknown, the reverse of the hoist is marked with the name of a previous owner of the flag, "F. P. Crane", providing a charming tie the person who at one time cherished and cared for this flag.

I believe that one measure of the greatness of a flag is how memorable it is once you encounter it.  There are flags, such as this, which only need be seen once in order to make a permanent mark on a collector's mind.  These are the flags that collectors remember for years--the ones that get away, and the ones that are captured and treasured.  Seeking out and acquiring those special flags is one of the great experiences in the hunt for great and rare flags.


 
Learn more about the fabrics used in flag construction. Star Count:  13

Dates:  Civil War Era

War Era:  Civil War

Statehood:  Original Thirteen Colonies

Construction:  Wool and Cotton, Hand and Machine Stitched

Catalog Number:  IAS-00206

   
   

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