A German passport with unusual border stamps

Sometimes documents look quite ordinary on the first view but turn out to be real treasures on a second, more in-depth look. This happened with this passport of the Federal German Republic from May 1951. A passport-type which was established just that same year a few months earlier in Feb 1951. The bearer of the travel document was Fritz Erich Hans Arlt, born 1 June 1886 in Berlin, Prussia. The validity was original until 1953 but was extended until 1956. I find it very odd that the clerk at the passport office still wrote PRUSSIA in a Federal German passport! German passport border stamps

The curiosity we can see on page six of the passport, two border stamps of the Saarland which was in 1951 not yet a federal state of Germany. It would take another six years before joining the Federal Republic of Germany as a state on 1 January 1957.

Saarland was established in 1920 after World War I as the Territory of the Saar Basin, occupied and governed by France under a League of Nations mandate. The heavily industrialized region was economically valuable due to the wealth of its coal deposits and location on the border between France and Germany. Saarland was returned to Nazi Germany in the 1935 Saar status referendum. Following World War II, the French military administration in Allied-occupied Germany organized the territory as the Saar Protectorate from 1947. After the 1955 Saar Statute referendum, it joined the Federal Republic of Germany. Saarland used its own currency, the Saar franc, and postage stamps issued specially for the territory until 1959. German passport border stamps

The Saarland’s unification with the Federal Republic of Germany was sometimes referred to as the Kleine Wiedervereinigung (“little reunification,” in contrast with the post-Cold War absorption of the GDR (Die Wende)). After unification, the Saar franc remained the territory’s currency until West Germany’s Deutsche Mark replaced it on 7 July 1959. The Saar Treaty established that French, not English as in the rest of West Germany, should remain the first foreign language taught in Saarland schools; this provision was still followed mainly after it was no longer binding. German passport border stamps

The passport includes the original fee slip of 1.50 DM for the extension of the document. A nice addition, fee slips were usually not given much attention, and they were mostly thrown away.

German passport border stamps

A nice finding of an early Federal Republic passport with these two Saarland border stamps. Always take a closer look at the documents you collect!

 

FAQ Passport History
Passport collection, passport renewal, old passports for sale, vintage passport, emergency passport renewal, same day passport, passport application, pasaporte passeport паспорт 护照 パスポート جواز سفر पासपोर्ट

1. What are the earliest known examples of passports, and how have they evolved?

The word "passport" came up only in the mid 15th Century. Before that, such documents were safe conducts, recommendations or protection letters. On a practical aspect, the earliest passport I have seen was from the mid 16th Century. Read more...

2. Are there any notable historical figures or personalities whose passports are highly sought after by collectors?

Every collector is doing well to define his collection focus, and yes, there are collectors looking for Celebrity passports and travel documents of historical figures like Winston Churchill, Brothers Grimm, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read more...

3. How did passport designs and security features change throughout different periods in history, and what impact did these changes have on forgery prevention?

"Passports" before the 18th Century had a pure functional character. Security features were, in the best case, a watermark and a wax seal. Forgery, back then, was not an issue like it is nowadays. Only from the 1980s on, security features became a thing. A state-of-the-art passport nowadays has dozens of security features - visible and invisible. Some are known only by the security document printer itself. Read more...

4. What are some of the rarest and most valuable historical passports that have ever been sold or auctioned?

Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...

5. How do diplomatic passports differ from regular passports, and what makes them significant to collectors?

Such documents were often held by officials in high ranks, like ambassadors, consuls or special envoys. Furthermore, these travel documents are often frequently traveled. Hence, they hold a tapestry of stamps or visas. Partly from unusual places.

6. Can you provide insights into the stories behind specific historical passports that offer unique insights into past travel and migration trends?

A passport tells the story of its bearer and these stories can be everything - surprising, sad, vivid. Isabella Bird and her travels (1831-1904) or Mary Kingsley, a fearless Lady explorer.

7. What role did passports play during significant historical events, such as wartime travel restrictions or international treaties?

During war, a passport could have been a matter of life or death. Especially, when we are looking into WWII and the Holocaust. And yes, during that time, passports and similar documents were often forged to escape and save lives. Example...

8. How has the emergence of digital passports and biometric identification impacted the world of passport collecting?

Current modern passports having now often a sparkling, flashy design. This has mainly two reasons. 1. Improved security and 2. Displaying a countries' heritage, icons, and important figures or achievements. I can fully understand that those modern documents are wanted, especially by younger collectors.

9. Are there any specialized collections of passports, such as those from a specific country, era, or distinguished individuals?

Yes, the University of Western Sidney Library has e.g. a passport collection of the former prime minister Hon Edward Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret. They are all diplomatic passports and I had the pleasure to apprise them. I hold e.g. a collection of almost all types of the German Empire passports (only 2 types are still missing). Also, my East German passport collection is quite extensive with pretty rare passport types.

10. Where can passport collectors find reliable resources and reputable sellers to expand their collection and learn more about passport history?

A good start is eBay, Delcampe, flea markets, garage or estate sales. The more significant travel documents you probably find at the classic auction houses. Sometimes I also offer documents from my archive/collection. See offers... As you are already here, you surely found a great source on the topic 😉

Other great sources are: Scottish Passports, The Nansen passport, The secret lives of diplomatic couriers

11. Is vintage passport collecting legal? What are the regulations and considerations collectors should know when acquiring historical passports?

First, it's important to stress that each country has its own laws when it comes to passports. Collecting old vintage passports for historical or educational reasons is safe and legal, or at least tolerated. More details on the legal aspects are here...

Does this article spark your curiosity about passport collecting and the history of passports? With this valuable information, you have a good basis to start your own passport collection.

Question? Contact me...