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This fantastic 13 star flag is of the style and form of an ensign of the U.S. Navy that made and used in the period circa 1850-1860.  The 4-5-4 pattern in particular came into use in the early- to mid-19th century, but generally fell out of use as a pattern on small boat ensigns by the Civil War period in favor of the 3-2-3-2-3 pattern. This particular example is of exceptionally fine form and quality.  The flag is entirely hand sewn.  The cotton stars are double-appliquéd and very carefully hand sewn with a fine thread, likely made of silk or a silk blend, for strength.  The tips of the stars are blunted, or folded under, which is a trait seen on a small handful of American flags that pre-date the Civil War.  The flag is beautifully proportioned and relatively small, at under approximately 68" on the fly and 34" on the hoist.  The wool bunting is of extremely fine quality, and overall the flag is in extremely fine condition, with only a minor loss in the top right corner and some repairs to the top left grommet.  This indicates that the flag was used, but only very briefly, and then stored under excellent conditions for the past 150 or more years.  The flag exhibits virtually no staining or other losses, and looks essentially like the day it was made.  Written on some of the stars, in very faint pencil, are numbers, presumably corresponding to the cut stars.  The maker of the flag was particularly careful to precisely align the stars, the tips of which tilt to the 10 o'clock position.  The numbers may indicate mated stars or star positions, are a good indication that the flag, which was clearly made to very exacting standards and was professionally manufactured, rather than being a homemade flag.


 
Learn more about maritime ensigns of the 19th century. Star Count:  13

Dates:  1850-1865

War Era:  None

Statehood:  Original 13 Colonies

Construction:  Wool Bunting with Cotton Stars

Catalog Number:  IAS-00360

   

Next:
American National Flag
34 Stars in the Great Star Pattern


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