Theo J.F. Schalke – adapted from the text of the award-winning single frame exhibit (16 pages) of Joe Ross, Cal – Revenuers Chapter of the American Revenue Society, with examples from my own collection. Additional information from the Internet and help from other AMG collectors such as Dave J. Beeby, Terry Safford, Thomas J. Richards, Eric Jackson. Thanks a lot to Theo and his fellow collectors for this excellent guideline.

The Allied Military Government for Occupied Territories (originally abbreviated AMGOT, later AMG) was the form of military rule administered by Allied forces during and after World War II within European territories they occupied. The first countries occupied by AMGOT were Italy and France in 1943. Based on experiences of the British in Libya, civil affairs officers naturally came under the control of local military commanders in combat zones. But once an area had become non-operational it was administered quite separately from the occupying forces. This was AMGOT unwittingly helped to revive the Mafia in Sicily and later extended to Italy. The AMGOT would have been implemented in France after its liberation if not for General Charles de Gaulle establishing control of the country per the Provisional Government of the French Republic in the name of the Free French Forces and the united French Resistance (FFI) following the liberation of Paris by the French themselves instead of the Allies, in August 1944. The First French Army refused to withdraw and frustrated AMGOT’s establishment there. Roosevelt resolved the situation by refusing the French any more military supplies until they withdrew, which they did on 10 June 1945. There were also some difficulties in Trieste, which Tito’s forces had occupied, but this was also solved eventually. Having a separate chain of command from the army made AMGOT unsatisfactory, and it was not used in Germany or Austria. After Victory in Europe, at the Yalta Conference in February 1945, the new borders of both countries were decided.


The Allied Control Council (ACC) for Germany oversaw the Allied Occupation Zones in Germany. The ACC was established by agreement of June 5, 1945, with its seat in Berlin. Its members were Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States of America. Cooperation by the ACC broke down as the Soviet representative withdrew on March 20, 1948. After the breakdown of the ACC, West Germany (and West Berlin) was ruled by the Allied High Commission with membership from Britain, France, and the United States, while East Germany (and East Berlin) was ruled by the Chairman of the Soviet Control Commission, later the Soviet High Commissioner.

The Allied Commission for Austria was established by the Agreement on control machinery in Austria, signed in the European Advisory Commission in London on July 4, 1945. It entered into force on July 24, 1945, on the day that the United States gave notification of approval, the last of the four powers to do so. Austria was divided into 4 zones: American, British, French, and Soviet. Vienna, being the capital, was similarly divided but at its center was an International Zone, the sovereignty of which alternated at regular intervals between the 4 Powers. The commission had its seat in Vienna.

The control and cooperation between the commanders of these areas were arranged by these Allied Control Commissions and they ran the civil administration. Later it came known as the Allied Military Government (AMG). Written permission was required, for security reasons, in allowing the crossing of frontiers to and from Germany. The Headquarters of the Allied Forces, the Allied High Commission, instituted the usage of Fiscal stamps to indicate prepayment on special Entry Permits into Germany and Austria. The British, French, and US military were still responsible for Border control in their respective Zone(s).

June 1943 The War Department placed an order for Allied military currency (AMC) with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The first AMCs were used by Allied forces in Italy. Production on Allied military postage stamps started July 1943. And July 1946 The Bureau of Engraving and Printing begins work on Military Payment Certificates for use overseas by U.S. troops.

(full document with several pictures as PDF-file, 15 pages, 2.5 MB)

FAQ Passport History
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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...