Mastai Book Scan
Mastai Book Scan

Mastai Book Scan

Canton - edit

Canton - edit

Obverse - edit

Obverse - edit





Time  Cover - 4/7/1980

Time Cover - 4/7/1980

Time Cover Image

Time Cover Image

Time cover  edit

Time cover edit

Time Cover Image edit

Time Cover Image edit

FOTW Image

FOTW Image


U.S. 34 Star Flag, 1861 - 1863 "Snowflakes Flag".

Sub-collection: Mastai - Early American Flags

34 Star US Flag, 1861 - 1863, "Snowflakes Flag" former Mastai Collection.
This 34 star United States flag bears an extremely unusual, perhaps unique, star field. The five clusters, of six stars each, and the four accent stars at each outer edge of the canton are actually unexplained. They have been variously interpreted.

One interpretation is that the five clusters form a diagonal St. Andrews cross, while the four single, accent stars form a traditional, if vestigial, St. George's Cross. Taken together these are reminiscent of the flags of Great Britain and the United Kingdom and might represent a cultural or ancestral continuity, similar to the Continental Colors or Grand Union Flag.

Another description is that the star cluster imitates an umbel of flowers. Like the tiny clusters of white flowers seen on the carrot or milkweed, the stars, seem to radiate from a common point. The use of floral analogies is common when describing stars fields, but this pattern is unique to this design.

A Snowflake or a Snow Chrystal was also one of the descriptions used by one of the flag's former owners when exhibiting it. While this 34 star flag's exact history is unknown; it was formerly #40 as a part of the acclaimed collection of noted antique dealer Mr. Boleslaw Mastai and his wife Marie-Louise d'Otrange Mastai, formerly of New York City, and later Amagansett, Long Island. Their collection was the result of fifty years of collecting, research and study by the late husband-wife team. Mastai, started collecting in the mid 20th century and amassed the greatest private flag collection in the United States which he detailed in his ground-breaking book 'The Stars and The Stripes; The American Flag from Birth of the Republic to the Present', published by Alfred Knopf, New York 1973, and has been hailed as establishing the American Flag both as art and social history. Regardless of the interpretation of the star pattern as crosses, umbels or snowflakes, this remains one of the most interesting 34 star flags in existence from the tumultuous period of the American Civil War.

ZFC Significant Flag

Exhibition history:
The Story of the Unknown Flag, United States Custom House, 6 World Trade Center, New York, NY, June14-july 28, 1987

200 Years of the Stars & Stripes: A Loan Exhibition of the Mastai Collection, Hall of sciences of the City of New York, Queens,, New York, NY, June 14 December 30, 1977

The Stripes and Stars: The Evolution of the American Flag, The Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth Texas, October-November, 1973.

"Our Unknown Flag" 14 June, 1978 to 28 July 1978" at the US Custom house, Plaza Level, 6 World trade Center, New York, New York.

Publication history:
Depicted in Mastai (1973), p. 109.
Depicted in 1973 cat. p. 42, #46.
Depicted in American Flags, p. 40

Time Magazine, Volume 116, No.1,7 July 1980, Front Cover.

• Acquired by Mr. & Mrs. Boleslaw & Marie-Louise D'Otrange Mastai, New York City, and Amagansett, NY, The Mastai Collection, until 2002.
• Sold via Sotheby's Auction in New York City to the Zaricor Flag Collection, 2002.


Diffily, John A., editor, Mastai Flag Collection, Newsletter from the Education Department, Vol. II, No. 2, Fort Worth, Amon Carter Museum, 1973.

Madaus, Howard M.- Whitney Smith, The American Flag: Two Centuries of Concord and Conflict, VZ Publications, Santa Cruz, 2006.

Mastai, Boleslaw and Marie-Louise D'Otrange, The Stars and The Stripes: The American Flag as Art and as History from the Birth of the republic to the Present, Knopf, New York, 1973.

Mastai, Boleslaw and Marie-Louise D'Otrange, Our Unknown Flag: Almost 250 Flags and Artifacts from the famous Mastai Collection, New York, , Amagansett, Exhibited 14 June -28 July 1978, US Customhouse, Plaza Lever, 6 World Trade Center, Boleslaw Mastai, 1978.

34 Star Flag - (1861-1863) (U.S.), Flags of the World, 11 November 2011, from:

Image Credits:
Zaricor Flag Collection

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 69
Length of Fly 112.5


Width of Union/Canton 37
Length of Union/Canton 45.5


Comments on Star Measurements Cotton Stars.
Size of Stars 4


Width of 1st Stripe 5.25
Width of 3rd Stripe 5.25
Width of 8th Stripe 5.25
Width of Last Stripe 5.25
Size of Hoist 1.5


Is it framed? no


Number of Stars 34
How are the stars embeded? Single Applique
Are there stars on obverse? no
Are there stars on reverse? yes
Comments on Stars Reverse
Star Pattern Five clusters of six stars arranged in a diagonal cross, with accent stars in then center line of each canton side.


Number of Stripes 13
Color of Top Stripe Red
Color of Bottom Stripe Red
Has a Blood Stripe? no
Comments on Stripes Stripes are hand stitched.


Nation Represented United States


Fabric Wool
Comments on Fabric Wool & Cotton Weave Blend


Stitching Hand


Type of Weave Plain


Method of Attachment Grommets


Applique Sides Single Faced = Mirror Image Reverse


Public Copy & Signs


Condition Good
Damage Used, worn, soiled
Displayable yes


Date 1861-1863


Publication Copy Druckman, Nancy, Jeffery Kohn, The American Flag: Designs for a Young Nation, New York, Abrams, 2003.P.40.
Flag Books
The Stars and The Stripes - Mastai

The Stars and The Stripes - Mastai