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    A Striking and Highly Important American Silk Patriotic Banner, Probably of the Federal Period c. Late 1780's. Included are detailed forensic and stylistic analyses by former Smithsonian curator and Threads of History author Herbert Collins and leading forensic expert in early American flags and textiles Fonda Thomsen. Their complete reports may be found in our website description of this lot.

    A double-sided, hand-painted banner measuring 14" x 16", the eagle is of the style seen on 1789 George Washington Inaugural buttons, and follows the description and pattern for the Great Seal of the United States, adopted in 1782. The silk "Schuyler Flag" exhibited at the Army-Navy Museum at Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, dated as early as 1784, depicts a similar-style eagle painted in the canton.

    The inspirational quote is a paraphrase of the opening line in a 1776 letter from Samuel Adams to John Adams, which begins: "May God give us Wisdom Fortitude Perseverance and every other Virtue necessary for us to maintain that Independence which we have asserted." The exact form that appears on the banner seems to have first been used on the frontispiece of the first issue of The Columbian Magazine (1787). It celebrates the rise of Columbia with an image of Minerva, goddess of wisdom, and a scroll bearing the exact same language appearing on the banner.

    Fonda Thomsen's laboratory analysis confirms that the materials and construction are consistent with dating to the late 18th century, a conclusion shared by Collins. Serious bidders are encouraged to visit to read their comments in full. Overall condition is excellent, with some minor areas of spotting and staining and one larger stain next to the eagle's head on one side. Considering the age of the banner and the perishability of early silk flags and banners, the condition is truly remarkable.

    An important historical textile with marvelous display appeal, it would be a worthy addition to the most advanced private or institutional collection.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2014
    8th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,672

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