Recently I bought a couple of German passports with the big red “J” stamp. I was somehow astonished about the excellent and fresh condition of the documents. After more than seventy years there was almost no wear to see, even the clips to attach the passport picture was not rusty at all. I paid quite a price for the documents and had some doubts if they are genuine. I consulted also a fellow collector and we were discussing how to analyse the documents at my desk.
I was calling some institutes if they could help but I can tell, it`s not that easy. One institute was focusing on Swiss art only, another one was able to do a analyse of the handwriting only but to find someone who is able to analyse the different ink types and the paper is a challange. The third one I called was very supportive and named me three phone numbers of specialists. Two numbers were from the Federal German Police in Munich and the other one from the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing in Berlin. I called to Munich and they confirmed what I already had in mind about processing time and costs. 6-8 weeks and around 1500€. Autsch!
However I got another source from Munich. They told me the Swiss Cantonal Police would have also a few specialists. Will do another try…
In the meantime I bought a DigitalMicroscope (see picture above) which should help me to get a closer view on the documents. What do you think about the pictures I made? Quite interesting to get the things so close. The magnification is between 4 to 40. The device is quite compact, has a SD-Card slot, the picture resolution is up to 2 Megapix, video is possible. With the software and the USB cable you can view the live picture direct on the notebook. The price is rather inexpensive with 90$ and I belive this was a good investment.
Today I had the chance to meet passport specialists of the Swiss Cantonal Police. They have a special department for passport forgery. I had four sample documents with me (the “J” stamped passports mentioned above). First of all I have to thank the passport forgery team which performed this “inofficial analyse” as goodwill. They checked the paper, watermark, stamps, print technology and did also some tests with UV light. There were no indications of forgery or alternation of the documents. So I can clearly say these documents are genuine.
By the way it was impressive to see how their laboratory is equipped.