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Among flags made in the 19th century, the most expensive and finest quality manufactured flags were those made of silk with gilt stars for military use.  These battle flags are both beautiful and rare. While the vast majority of American flags have white fabric stars, the reflective golden color of the gilt and the shimmer and sheen of the silk fabric is intended to elevate the form and inspire those serving under the flag, whether it be on the parade grounds during times of peace, or in battle during times of war. This beautiful 44 star battle flag is rather small, at just 33" x 44", and was likely used by a lower echelon unit such as a Company or Battalion, rather than a Regiment.  The presence of silk ties along the hoist, as well as the gilt and silk construction, are all hallmarks of a military flag. Some of the gilt from the stars has transferred to the stripes while the flag was stored folded over the past century. The silk of the flag is characteristically brittle, a trait seen on many mid-to-late 19th century silk flags.  Silk was sold by weight, and merchants weighted silk by soaking the silk in mineral salts which were not visible, but made the silk heavier.  Over time, the salts deteriorated the fabric and cause the silk to break down and become brittle. Given the fact that this flag is more than 120 years old, it has survived in exceptional condition and is a fine example of a late 19th century American battle flag.  Flags with 44 stars are seen with somewhat less frequency than later 45 and 46 star flags, and this flag is among the finest examples I have seen in this star count.

 


 

Learn more about American Battle Flags. Star Count:  44 Stars

Dates:  1891-1896

War Era:  None

Statehood:  Wyoming

Construction:  Sewn Silk with Gilt Stars

Catalog Number:  IAS-00401

   
   

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48 Stars, Entirely Hand Crochet
Early 20th Century


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