Historic/vintage 11' X 5' 27 Star, 11 Stripes, American Flag,19th Century.
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Historic/vintage 11' X 5' 27 Star, 11 Stripes, American Flag,19th Century. :
Trifecta: rare 27 star count; only 11 stripes; and, the blue canton rests on the blood stripe. American Flags with 27 stars made at the time when Florida became a state are among the rarest of the 19th Century as very few period examples exist and most major collections of early Flags do not have this star count. Because there was no official configuration until President Taft signed an executive order detailing specifications in 1912, their design before that time was left to the whims of the maker. Depending on star count, most structured their stars in lineal rows or columns. And a much smaller number chose centric designs such as the one seen here, in which the stars are arranged in 6-5-5-5-6 configuration employing 2 different sizes of stars with a larger star in the center creating a "squared-circle." The Flag is likely homemade with both hand and machine stitchingwhere I believe the stars are handmade while the stripes are clearly machine stitched. The red and white stripes (only 11) are made of cotton with repairs as noted in the pictures. The blue canton is made of cotton as well with cut-outs for each star. The stars are also made cotton and arranged in a slight square circularpattern with the biggest star in the center. The stars of the Flag are cut out and show through both sides. My guess is that several seamsters were at work here. Because this is likely a homemade Flag, the work of more than one person would not be unusual. The stars appear to be clipped in a pattern that has somewhat bulging profiles, then applied directly using a simple stitch as noted in the pictures. Now to the fact that the Flag has just 11 stripes. It should be noted that leading up to the Civil War in 1861, this 11 stripe count may have conveyed Southern sympathies lining up with where my family was from. Some Flag historians have suggested that Flags such as this may have been displayed in border states to convey hidden meaning, marking a spot where Southern-leaning parties could find a meeting place, preferential treatment, a safe house, or some other advantage. So while some hidden meaning might be the reason, the realities of the mid-19th century were that a count of 11 stripes, particularly in a homemade Flag, just might as well have reflected fabric scarcity. Another interesting trait on this particular Flag can be seen in the fact that the canton rests on a red stripe. When this scarce placement occurs, some Flag historians have referred to it as the blood stripe or the war stripe, suggesting the Flag was constructed in this manner when the nation was at war or heading towards conflict. But in actuality, the placement probably occurred more often by accident. Not everyone knew where the canton was traditionally placed, and, because there was no official specification until 1912, there was no official standard. Whatever the case may be with regarding the reason, the war stripe feature is highly coveted by collectors and the stripe count of 11 adds an interesting dimension both adding wartime aspects of interest and value. Part of the reason why 27 star Flags are so rare is that the star count was official for only one year. Florida became the 27th state on March 3rd, 1845 and then Texas shortly after. As to the 11 stripe count, as mentioned above, that was left to the whims of the maker as not until the 1912 executive order were there rules as to Flag design and construction. Know the Republic of Texas entered the Union as the 28th state in December 1845, approximately 9 months after Florida. So the production of 27 star Flags had a window of less than a year making it one of the shortest star counts in American history. Another reason that 27 star Flags are so scarce is that they were produced before American Flags were in widespread use making them very rare in the 19th Century. Prior to the 20th Century our Flag was not used for most of the same purposes we employ it in today and citizens did not typically display the Flag in their yards or from their homes. And large Flags such as this didn't fly on poles in front of business like they do today. Even the military did not use the national Flag in a manner that most people might think. Given this Flag'slarge size, this particular Flag could have been used to mark ships at sea or boats on a river. That will remain a mystery, but given the wear and repairs, this was likely a Flag used daily and not for ceremonialpurposes. Adding to the Flag's appeal is its pieced-and-sewn construction that one may expect to encounter prior to the 1890's. In early America, such Flags were typically 8 feet long and larger which this one is. This is because they were important in their function as signals, meaning that they needed to be seen and recognized from great distances. In summary, this is a rare 19th Century Flag with one of the rarest star counts known in Flag collecting with a desirable star pattern consisting of two sizes of stars with only 11 stripes, a canton on a red stripe, and ready to be professionally mounted. Like i said, trifecta! Condition: There is staining and repairs throughout. There is also fading of the stripes as noted in the photographs. There are also small tears and loss of fabric that was repaired years ago. The overall condition is good for the period. The extreme rarity would warrant practically any state of preservation. More photos can be shared upon request and know this Flag has been in my family for years.