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$1100.00
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Made of light cotton fabric and sewn by hand on a treadle machine, it is 133 inches by 67 inches.

The launching of a ship was a special occasion in the 19th century. The new ship was often bedecked with banners and flags. Flying from her masts or flagpoles would be her launch pennant with the ship's name. A large American flag was also on display, often specially made of light fabric so it would catch the breeze as the hull ran down the rails to the water.

This is such a flag. Made of light cotton fabric and sewn by hand on a treadle machine, it is 133 inches by 67 inches. Its longer proportional length gives it a dramatic presence. The flag has 38 stars, c.1876, sewn on a fading blue canton. I suspect the flag is actually older, and may have had a couple of stars added around 1880. The fabric shows evidence of the use of non-aniline dyes, a practice that fell out of favor in the 1860s.

The flag is complete, with just a few small seam separations or minor holes. I acquired it over 30 years ago. On special occasions when there was no breeze, I hung it from the 3rd floor window of my shop/sailors' rooming house on the square in Fells Point. I would not do that now as it is in more delicate condition.

 
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