Obverse - 2

Obverse - 2


U.S. 13 Star Boat Flag.

Sub-collection: Judge John T. Ball courtroom & chambers flag collection

13 star U.S. Boat Flag.
This is a 13 star U.S. 3-2-3-2-3 wool, hand sewn Boat Flag, very similar in size to U.S. Navy Size Number 12, and it is typical of the type of flags used to indicate the nationality of small boats that had been dispatched from larger vessels. In 1864 the proper compliment of stars on a United States flag would have been 35, but in the 1850s, for both economic and aesthetic reasons, the star count was lowered to thirteen.

Practically, it was less expensive if the navy did not have to alter the star count on all flags when a new state joined the Union, and aesthetically because the larger number of stars crowded the canton and made the flag difficult to distinguish from a distance (such as out at sea). This flag bears all the characteristics of a flag produced in the later stages of the American Civil Was or shortly after; hand sewing, whipped stitched grommets, and multi-directional stars.

The previous history of this 13 star flag is unknown, but it was part of the acclaimed collection of Superior Court Judge John T. Ball, of Santa Clara County, California. Because of the legal constraints imposed upon courtroom d├ęcor, Judge Ball used his collection to decorate the walls of his courtroom - there being no restrictions on the display of United States flags.

Exhibition History
Courtroom of Judge John T. Ball, Judge of the Santa Clara County Superior Court, San Jose, CA

Provenance: Acquired by the Zaricor Flag Collection (ZFC0585) in 2002 from the Judge John T. Ball Collection of San Jose, CA.

ZFC Important Flag
Item is Framed


US Navy "Boat" Flag , Dave Martucci's Flag Pages, 29 May 2012, from:

Preble, George Henry, The History of the Flag of the United States of America, Boston, Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1894.

Image Credits:
Zaricor Flag Collection

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 48
Length of Fly 72


Comments on Star Measurements 3-2-3-2-3 horizontal rows


Is it framed? yes


Number of Stars 13
Are there stars on obverse? yes
Are there stars on reverse? no


Number of Stripes 13
Color of Top Stripe Red
Color of Bottom Stripe Red
Has a Blood Stripe? no


Nation Represented United States


Fabric Wool
Comments on Fabric Bunting


Comments on Method of Attachmen Framed
Method of Attachment NONE


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.


Condition Good
Damage used
Displayable yes


Date 1876