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Thirteen star flags in the Cowpens or Third Maryland Pattern are among the scarcest and most desired by collectors of early American Stars and Stripes.  The pattern is associated with a particular early example that was long thought to have been carried by General Daniel Morgan's Maryland Light Infantry at the Battle of Cowpens during the American Revolution in 1781.  The original Cowpens flag, now in the Maryland State Archives, actually dates to the second quarter of the 19th century, after further examination.  But this particular pattern is forever linked to this particular flag, hence the name for the style of a 13 star flag that has 12 stars arranged in either an oval or circular wreath, with a single center star.  The actual Cowpens flag, which I've had the privilege to examine in person, consists of an oval wreath much in the same form as this particular example.  The colors of the flag are very vibrant, with the white stripes aging to a tan color and the red and blue retaining their bold and very complementary deep colors.  The canton and stripes are made of wool bunting, with machine stitched stripes and zig-zag stitched stars.  The period of the flag could date as early as circa 1890, though it most likely dates to some time in the first quarter of the 20th century, circa 1900-1925.  Thirteen star flags were made in this era primarily for use on maritime vessels.  This example is small making it easy to frame and present, and, despite the losses to the corner of the top red stripe, is in remarkably fine condition with little signs of weathering. Thirteen star flags from this era are generally hard to find, and of those that do exist, fewer than one in a hundred surviving examples from this period are in a pattern such as this, rather than a more common 3-2-3-2-3 pattern or the 13 star medallion pattern.


 
Click here to see a gallery showing the many patterns found on thirteen star flags. Star Count:  13 Stars

Dates:  1900-1925

War Era:  Spans World War I

Statehood:  Original Thirteen Colonies

Construction:  Wool Bunting with Cotton Stars

Catalog Number:  IAS-00285

   

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48 Stars, 4-Pointed
World War I POW Flag


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