A 34-Star 'Great Flower' American Flag commemorating Kansas statehood

Manhattan or Buffalo, New York Merchants' Exchange, 1861

Hand-sewn, single appliqued cotton stars arranged in a 'Great Flower' pattern on a four-part wool bunting canton, the stars 'peek' through, wool bunting stripes, canvas hoist inscribed, "H.M.T. Smith," "JHVB," "B. Rathbun" and "Merchants Exchange," also marked twice with "Mastai Collection" stamp and "No. 37.," hoist with three grommets, one new.

9 ft. 4 in. x 11 ft. 6 in.



PROVENANCE:

The Collection of Boleslaw and Marie-Louise d'Otrange Mastai.
Estimate $4,000-6,000

Literature: Boleslaw and Marie-Louise d'Otrange Mastai, The Stars and the Stripes: The American Flag as Art and as History from the Birth of the Republic to the Present (1973), 108 & 109.

Note: The Mastais felt that this Flag was flown at the New York City Merchants' Exchange, but another possibilty is that the Flag was flown from the Buffalo, New York Merchants' Exchange, built in 1844 at the corner of Hanover and Prime Streets. The names on the hoist are likely thoses of two western New York state physicians. Dr. Henry M.T. Smith (born in 1822), a medical doctor and later owner of the H.M.T. Smith Drug Store, and Dr. Byron W. Rathbun (1835-1903), a dentist. Dr. B. Rathbun's dentist office was located on the second floor of Smith's Drug Store. Both were active in regional professional organizations and spent most of their lives in Dunkirk, Chautauqua County, New York. The New York City Merchants' Exchange became the U.S. Customs House in 1862 and images of that date show the Revenue Marine Service Cutter Flag on the building.



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Sold for $5,625 (buyer's premium included)