Help needed - 36 star great star flag

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by qbertman, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. qbertman

    qbertman New Member

    I just recently purchased a 36 star great star on eBay, and was looking to see if one of the experts on here could help me verify authenticity.

    Everything looks kosher to me. It has single appliqued stars and is entirely hand sewn. It also contains the name h.r. Jennings on the hoist and has a souvenir removed from the bottom red stripe. However, I would feel Much better if someone with more experience could verify my thoughts before I complete this purchase. Below is the link to the flag. Thanks in advance.

    Nicholas

    ANTIQUE 36 STAR FLAG CIVIL WAR ERA C. 1865 - eBay (item 320650872789 end time Jan-31-11 17:40:59 PST)
     
  2. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Hi qbertman,
    I am by no means an expert and I am sure the others with more knowledge will have some comments besides mine. However, metal grommets were not common during the CW period, they were usually hand sewn. Maybe they were added later on? I admire the nice work with the stars, very tight and neat.
     
  3. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

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    Hello, Nicholas (Qbertman). Welcome to the USA-Flag-Site Forums! :D


    I am NO "Flag Expert" (and I don't play one on TV!), but I agree with CSAANV. I don't think metal grommets were used by flagmakers during that time period. Perhaps the Flag was made for the 25th Anniversary of the end of the Civil War in 1890? Or maybe for an annual G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) reunion encampment between, say, 1885 and 1940?

    In my NON-expert opinion, although the flag, and almost everything on it, is very faded, it seems to be in almost pristine (untouched?) condition. One might sat, TOO pristine. If it had been flown enough to get THAT faded, it would also be much more tattered & battered, I think. If it had been carefully folded and stored away out of sunlight, it would be in very good condition (with fold creases and smelling like mothballs perhaps) and the colors would be MUCH less faded. As near as I can tell, neither seems to be the case.

    The single most "suspicious" looking element to my NON-expert eyes, is the very clean, very clear, and very dark, stamps of the name "H.R. Jennings" (or "Jenning") on the Flag's header (hoist). I've seen carefully perserved 19th century newspapers' black ink printing that wasn't that clean, clear, and dark!

    Most importantly, REMEMBER: I am NOT a "Flag Expert". OK?

    The way that the Stars are inserted into the blue Union looks interesting to me. It looks like the Flag's maker cut Star holes into the Union and then hemmed the holes. Then, previously cut and hemmed white Stars were sewn over the holes from the back side of the Union. Maybe that was "standard" practice at one time, but this is the first time I've ever seen close-up pictures of it!

    I'll finish this up and get out of the way so that the REAL Flag Experts on this site can weigh in on your Flag.

    All I can offer you in closing is my "NON-Expert" advice that the BEST time to ask questions about an "antique" Flag (or "antique" anything else) is BEFORE you bid on it or buy it.


    Good Luck, Nicholas, and Thank You for bringing your Flag-related question to our Forums !!! :D



    Robin "I'm NO Flag Expert" Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
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  4. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

  5. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

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    Also, "CaptWarner1755" has this antique 13-Star Flag up for bid!

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ANTIQUE-13-STAR-FLAG-/320650875167?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4aa848111f

    And REMEMBER, like ALL of "CaptWarner1755" antique Flag sales, it is LOCAL PICK-UP ONLY. (It's probably just me, BUT..... It's like he doesn't trust the United States Postal Service to carry his antiques Flags across State lines.....)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    ITEM's Description :

    "ANTIQUE 13 STAR FLAG. BETSY ROSS STYLE. CIRCA 1900. RARE SMALL SIZE, APPROXIMATELY 21 3/4 X 34 1/2. MACHINE SEWN STARS(BOTH SIDES), WITH A ROYAL BLUE CANTON THAT IS MACHINE SEWN TO THE PRINTED STRIPES. CONDITION IS VERY GOOD, SOME STAINING AND TAN COLOR TO THE STRIPES, SOME SMALL HOLES TO THE EDGES WHERE THE FLAG WAS ATTACHED TO A POLE AT SOME TIME. NICE CONFIGURATION OF THE STARS WHICH ADD A FOLKY APPEAL. WOULD LOOK GREAT FRAMED FOR DISPLAY. ALL SALES FINAL. THANK YOU FOR VIEWING."



    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
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  6. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Brass grommets were definately in use during the Civil War. I have a period 35-star flag with brass grommets, but no photo to show you. Here's a photo of the corner of my wool bunting 36-star flag:

    [​IMG]

    In this photo you can also see where the stars are "inset" into the blue wool canton. This was a very common practice during the first 9 decades of the 1800's.

    You can see the whole 36-star flag here:
    36 Star Flag 1865-1867 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    Based on what I can see in the photos of the great star 36, I don't see anything that would cause me to doubt the 1865-1867 time frame. It was sewn by an expert, that is clear. In fact, it looks like it was done more carefully than mass-produced flags of the day. However, one way to be sure is to have a textile expert examine the sewing threads to see if they are period.

    nb: some brass grommets are stamped with a patent date. Check them with a glass to see if they are dated.
    Nick
     
  7. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

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    Hello again, Nicholas! :D


    As much as I am NOT a Flag Expert, NAVA1974 (Nick A.) IS a Flag Expert!!!

    Since Nick says that metal (brass, steel, etc.) grommets WERE used in flag manufacturing for most of the 19th century, including the time period for your Flag, I stand corrected! I apologize for inadvertently mis-leading you!

    Also, the "inset" stars that I had never seen before, but found so interesting, were somewhat commonplace in American Flags manufactured throughout most of the 19th century. I did NOT know that and, apparently, in all of the photos I've seen of 19th century U.S. Flags I'd never noticed that particular construction detail before.


    BTW : Did I mention that I am NOT a Flag Expert ??? :D


    YIKES !!! :eek:


    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
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  8. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Robin,

    Slight correction here, if you will. I said that metal grommets were used during the Civil War, NOT during most of the 19th Century! :eek:

    In fact, Grace Rogers Cooper in her book on flag textiles said that she had never seen a flag with brass grommets prior to the 1860's.

    I must admit that when I was looking through the Flickr photos of my Civil War flags, I found that most of them had hand-worked grommets, and only that 36-star flag had brass ones. I had to blow the dust off my hard-copy inventory where I had a photo of my 35-star flag to see that it did have brass grommets. So you were correct to be suspicious of a flag with metal grommets - they were apparently invented during the American Civil War but not used universally.

    Nick A
     
  9. qbertman

    qbertman New Member

    Guys, thank you very much for the help. I appreciate your insight.

    I tried to do some due diligence upfront. I have certainly seen quite a few civil war flags on Jeff bridgeman's website that do have brass grommets, and of course on Nick's fantastic flicker gallery. So the grommets weren't that concerning to me, nor were the single appliqued stars. Although, I am somewhat puzzled why they needed 5 grommets on the hoist, seems like they were planning for a lot of redundancy.

    I was more concerned if there was something else that I was perhaps missing that might indicate that it wasn't period. Nick, Robin, and csanav thank you all very much for your help! :D

    Nicholas
     
  10. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, Nick. I mis-wrote. :(

    When I wrote, "for most of the 19th century", I had meant to write, "for most of the latter half of the 19th century", but I had inadvertently editted it or left it out . It was not my intention to mis-represent your assertion by an incomplete para-phrasing.

    Rather than being a "period" Flag (1865-1867), I'm leaning more towards thinking that Qbertman's (Nicholas) flag is a G.A.R. "Reunion Flag".

    Part of that is because of its excellent construction and well-preserved condition. Partly because of the "souvenir" momentos cut out of the bottom red stripe. I'd think that the five well-made and non-distressed grommets would seem to indicate that the Flag was hung vertically and only occasionally (like, you know, once a year?).

    If it was proven to be a G.A.R. "Reunion Flag", my hunch is that it was only once and for a "significant" anniversary (ie. 20th in 1885, 25th in 1890, or 50th in 1915).


    But then, REMEMBER, I'm NOT an expert and I've already been wrong about most everthing else this flag !!! :D :eek: :D


    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
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  11. qbertman

    qbertman New Member

    I hope you are wrong robin, but you do raise some interesting points about souveniring. from my reading I understand that it was a common practice in the 19th century to remove souvenirs from flags to commemorate significant events such as battles, campaigns, and the death of leaders/ officers.

    This is somewhat interesting as the stenciled name on the hoist H.R.Jennings corresponds to one Captain Henry R. Jennings from the Connecticut 21st volunteer infantry company E. He was mortally wounded at petersburg, and died on November 21 st 1864 of his wounds. Now while the 36 star flag wasn't official July 1965, Nevada was officially added as a state to the union on October 31,1964. Thus it seems possible to me that this potentially could have been his flag or a funeral flag from which a souvenir was taken from for his family or his company men.

    Anyways, I don't think that this is conclusive evidence by any means, but it does seem overall consistent with the overall period being in 1864 - 1867. Anyways, I would love to get more insight on the use of souveniring, and whether this scenario that I laid out seems possible or far fetched. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Nicholas
     

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