The following coloured plates, come from the late 19th century.

When considering their age, the colour texture and plate design's are  almost contemporary 21st century products.

The naval ensign's and merchant flag's were used by Queen Victoria's Navy and the foreign flags were regularly seen abroad as well as in British ports.

Note the name of the BLUE ENSIGN, that there is a 'strange' flag representing Ireland, and that the Welsh have been forgotten.

Note also the spelling of some of the names, for example, the spelling of Chili  of Corea and of Hawaian.

Some of the countries shown are no longer, whilst others remain but under a different name.

The dating of the plates is relatively easy because there are a few tell-tale signs, one being the Hawaian  [Hawaiian] flag.  Hawaii  came under American administration in the last quarter of the 19th century, though it did not become a state of the USA, at least not at that time.  Read on! Yet in these plates, the Hawaiian flag has the British Union Jack in its top corner.

Flag sharing was not uncommon, and here we can see two groups of countries, essentially Islam, each group sharing one flag. One is Morocco,  Muscat and Zanzibar and the other is Turkey, Egypt and Tripoli.

However, the most obvious sign is the flag of the United States of America, the Star Spangled Banner.

For ALL Star Spangled Banners, the common feature has ALWAYS been the  proverbial 13 stripes, 7 red and 6 white, representing the original 13 States of the Union, although surprisingly, it wasn't until 1912 that America put its much revered flag on an official footing.  Before 1912, many regions produced their own 'national' flags each region interpreting the rules for their own reasons. 

What has changed over the years is the number of stars which fill the blue coloured field of the flag, the field representing a new constellation in the heavens above. Take a good look at the US flag shown on its plate here. It has two horizontal rows of 8 stars [top and bottom] and in between, 4 horizontal rows of 7 stars, making a total of 44 stars.

Today of course, the flag has 50 stars for 50 States, and it is the TWENTY SEVENTH flag since the War of Independence. They have had flags with 13, 15, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, and 43 stars, the jumps in the number sequence denoting the number of States joining: for example between 38 stars and 43 stars five new States joined the Union all on the same 4th of July.  That accounts for twenty one different flags. Now let us look in more detail at the last six flags i.e., from 44 stars to 50 stars.

The following table shows the flag variation and the associated history

44 Stars.
The US Flag on my Plate.
The official Flag of the USA  from 4th July 1891. The State of Wyoming joined on the 10th July 1890. The Flag lasted for 5 years and saw Service under Presidents Harrison and Cleveland.
45 Stars Official Flag from July 4th 1896.  The State of Utah joined on the 4th January 1896. The Flag lasted for 12 years. The Presidents were Cleveland, McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.
46 Stars Official Flag from 4th July 1908 to last for 4 years. The State of Oklahoma joined on the 16th November 1907. The Presidents were Theodore Roosevelt and Taft.
No 47 Stars.
48 Stars
The official Flag from 4th July 1912 with the addition of New Mexico and Arizona, both in early 1912. President Taft, in June of that year, ordered the established proportions of the flag and provided for the arrangement of the stars in six horizontal rows of eight each, a single point of each star to be upward.  This flag was official for 47 years , longer than any other flag, through two world wars and the emergence of the United States of America as the leading nation of the world.  Eight Presidents served under this flag as follows:- Taft, Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Franklin. D. Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower.
49 Stars 3rd January 1959 saw Alaska granted formal Statehood. President Eisenhower ordered the flag to have the stars arranged in seven rows of seven stars each, staggered horizontally and vertically. The flag was official for one year only. President Eisenhower was the only President to serve under the 49'er.
50 Stars Official US Flag now and dates from 4th July 1960  when Hawaii was granted Statehood on 21st August 1959. The Presidents have been Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George Bush, Clinton and George. W. Bush. President Eisenhower ordered the flag to be altered to provide for the arrangement of the stars in nine rows staggered horizontally and eleven rows of stars staggered vertically

Therefore, the plates date from sometime AFTER 1891 but BEFORE 1896.

I hope you find them of interest.

Note the ENSIGN column and the MERCHANT FLAG column for each country, except in the case of Switzerland and the ten countries below.

Godfrey [Jeff] Dykes January 2004