…at least if you look at all the different country stamps in your own passport but there is much more to explore when it comes to PASSPORT COLLECTING.
Nowadays you can collect everything e.g. stamps, maps, newspapers, invoices. In the ephemera world there is a corner for everything – even for old obsolete passports. This article may give you a first impression on WHY, WHAT to collect and WHERE to find your passports. There are of course many different answers to the big 3 W’s but I will tell you mine…
PASSPORT COLLECTING is nothing new and I know collector’s starting 30 years ago. But I would say this topic is getting more popular today even you rarely find articles in the established websites or magazines. Some famous man said once “If you don’t find what you looking for – create it – be it”. Well, that was exactly why I started to establish the website www.passport-collector.com. It’s a non-commercial share point for collectors of passports and other related travel documents. There is a weekly newsletter and you will be updated by regular postings of news, reports, pictures and collectors experience. Any collector contribution is very welcome and will keep’s the site vivid.
WHY do I collect passports?
For me an old passport is a piece of art beside it shows the (travel) history of its bearer. Imagine, who was travelling 70-80 years ago to countries like China, Japan and India? Only business man or wealthy people did, as travelling was much more complex as it is today. For private people it was pure luxury to travel. Now go even more back in time – 100, 150 or 200 years. Who was travelling then?
Looking at an old passport and see all the handwriting, rubber and tax stamps und finally the portrait pictures – isn’t that art compared to our RFID-Passport from today?
WHAT to collect?
Well, the topic is broad but I would recommend to limit your desire (and money) and focus your passion e.g. on a country, a period or smaller (but more difficult) on a grand duchy, specific stamps or visa…others collecting diplomatic passports only (very difficult). I do collect “German documents”.
WHERE to find old passports?
Maybe the most difficult one of the three questions as the public still thinks there is something illegal behind to collect passports. Please open your own passport right now and you will find a statement similar like this in almost all documents “This passport is property of the issuing country”…and you are “only” its bearer.
To say it clear “THERE IS NOTHING ILLIGAL” (As long it’s an old, obsolete one and for collecting purpose only) and remember here we talk about current modern passports.
The real old ones don’t have normally such a statement.
As source to start or increase your collection I have to mention eBay even they have strict rules on offering government documents. Please check your local eBay site for more information. But I made some great findings there. Secondly visit your local flea or antique markets. Also there you might be lucky. Finally you can visit occasionally auction houses. Sign up for their newsletters to get the latest information. To buy at an auction house isn’t necessarily expensive. Try it and you will be surprised sometimes.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my brief article here and the short introduction in PASSPORT COLLECTING. Don’t hesitate to contact me for any further questions.
Greetings and “Good luck”