Obverse watermarked

Obverse watermarked

Reverse watermarked

Reverse watermarked

Canton watermarked

Canton watermarked

Canton detail

Canton detail


U.S. 33 Star Grand Luminary Flag.

Sub-collection: Soldiers & Sailors Military Museum & Memorial

33 Star U.S. Grand Luminary Flag, 1859 - 1861, former Soldiers & Sailors Museum & Memorial Collection.
The canton of this hand stitched, cotton, double appliqué Grand Luminary flag is its most striking feature. The use of four different size stars to form the great star on a Grand Luminary flag is thought to be not only unique, but also extremely rare. Dating from 1859 to1860, 33 star United States flags were used for less than two years. This flag's size, 72" x 108", does not betray any obvious uses, and since it is without markings its use has been lost to history.

This flag has been, without attribution, in the original collection of the Soldiers and Sailors Museum and Memorial since the museum was created in Pittsburgh, PA. The museum was founded in the 1890s by the Grand Army of the Republic to recognize the sacrifice, valor, and patriotism of the Civil War service of soldiers and sailors from Allegheny County, PA. Later the institution transformed its mission into honoring all the men and women of Pennsylvania who have served any branch of the United States military, and in any conflict.

Due to its similarity in size to ZFC0001, a California Militia flag from 1858, and its vernacular origins, it has been speculated that this flag is a militia color or a camp flag with an Allegheny County Pennsylvania association. It is entirely hand-made, containing both wool and cotton stripes and a roped hoist. Furthermore, it conforms to no known federal military size or pattern, reinforcing the militia theories about this flag.

• By repute Allegheny County Militia, 1859-1865.
• Grand Army of the Republic, Pittsburgh, PA, 1890s.
• Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, until deaccession, 2007
• Sold via James D. Julia Auctions of Fairfield, ME to Zaricor Flag Collection, 2007.

ZFC Significant Flag

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 72.5
Length of Fly 107.5


Width of Union/Canton 39.5
Length of Union/Canton 43


Comments on Star Measurements Grand Luminary
Star sizes vary: large center star = 11.75; ring stars = 10.25; point stars = 7.15 & small accent stars = 4.125
Size of Stars 4.125


Width of 1st Stripe 6
Width of 3rd Stripe 6
Width of 8th Stripe 6.125
Width of Last Stripe 6
Size of Hoist 0.25


Is it framed? no


Number of Stars 33
How are the stars embeded? Sewn
Are there stars on obverse? yes
Are there stars on reverse? yes


Number of Stripes 13
Color of Top Stripe Red
Color of Bottom Stripe Red
Has a Blood Stripe? no
Comments on Stripes Stirpes made of red flannel & white cotton


Description of Crest/Emblem Stars arranged in Great Star or Grand Luminary


Nation Represented United States


Fabric Cotton
Comments on Fabric White = cotton sheeting
Red = flannel
Blue = cotton sheeting


Stitching Hand


Type of Weave Plain


Comments on Method of Attachmen Small sleeve with hemp rope sewn in.
Rope through header
Method of Attachment Roped-header


Applique Sides Single Faced = Mirror Image Reverse


All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
Research Documents
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
Public Copy & Signs
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.


Condition Good
Damage Used, soiled. stained, rope & canton torn.
Displayable yes


Date 1859