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Flags with 32 stars are very scarce. It's likely that there are fewer than 20 flags in this pre-Civil War star count currently known.  Without having studied early American flags over a long period of time, there are traits of this flag which could make a collector believe that it was possibly a fake flag, or at least a flag that was altered to make it look like an original 32 star flag when it was not.  However this flag is, in fact, an original 32 star flag, and, given it's small size at just 22" x 45", it's an unusually small example of the type. It's the only know example of the type that I'm aware of in this small size; others typically are 6 feet long or longer. A handful of examples of 32 star flags in this particular style which were modified to 34 stars have surfaced over the years.  On these modified examples, one star is cut and sewn into the space between the top-left grouping of four stars, and the other star between the bottom-left grouping of four stars.  Since the maker of this flag invested in the process to print four even rows of stars, their decision to alter the design by adding two sewn stars was most likely the most economical way to adjust to the new star count without having to change their printed pattern.  Like all others of the type, the canton of this flag is hand sewn into the stripes.  On the right edge of the canton you can barely see the tips of yet another row of stars where the maker trimmed the bolt of canton fabric to fit the space allotted for the canton in the stripes. This could be mistaken for a person altering a higher-count flag to make it look like a 32, but the construction matches others of the type, and is simply a case where the seamstress needed to make sure the canton fit properly.  Interestingly, additional red and white stripe fabric is folded over and sewn under the hoist to the left of the flag.  Clearly, the seamstress realized that the space allotted for the canton was larger than it needed to be, and thus made a combination of adjustments--cutting the blue canton as wide as they could while still keeping the 32 star count, and also folding over the left edge of the stripes to slightly shorten the space.  The hoist of the flag has two whip-stitched grommets, which are exactly correct for this period.  While 32 modified to 34 flags appear on the market every so often, unaltered 32 star examples in their original form are extremely rare and almost never surface, making this a true treasure and an important addition to the Rare Flags collection.


 
Learn more about rare star counts. Star Count:  32 Stars

Dates:  1858-1859

War Era:  None

Statehood:  Minnesota

Construction:  Printed Cotton

Catalog Number:  IAS-00304

   

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38 Star Starburst Medallion
American Centennial Era


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