An early passport of Charles IX, King of France, 1562, was at an auction last week. The final result was £2125 and was just a few bucks higher than my maximum bid. What a pity! King Charles France passport
Such early passports are very difficult to find. This one was issued to a prominent diplomat and was well worth the price. A fantastic piece of history. Congratulations to the buyer!
The Passport King Charles France passport
The passport signed (“Charles”), issued to Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, the English ambassador, allowing him to leave Paris and visit the Queen Mother [Catherine de Medicis] so that he can provide her certain information from ‘our sister’ [Queen Elizabeth] (“…affin de lui faire entendre information choses de la part de notre seur…”); integral blank endorsed on the verso “Kings Passport for Sr N. Throcke: Ambassador to goe and speake with the Queene Mother of Fransse from Parys”.
1 page, some light staining at center folds and dust-staining but in sound and attractive condition, folio, Paris, 5 January 1562.
Sir Nicholas Throckmorton
(or Throgmorton) (c. 1515/1516 – 12 February 1571) was an English diplomat and politician who was an ambassador to France and played a vital role in the relationship between Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots.
Charles IX King Charles France passport
(Charles Maximilien; 27 June 1550 – 30 May 1574) was King of France from 1560 until he died in 1574. He ascended the French throne upon the death of his brother Francis II in 1560 and, as such, was the penultimate monarch of the House of Valois.
Charles’ reign saw the culmination of decades of tension between Protestants and Catholics. Civil and religious war broke out between the two parties after the massacre of Vassy in 1562. In 1572, following several unsuccessful attempts at brokering peace, Charles arranged the marriage of his sister Margaret to Henry of Navarre, a prominent Protestant nobleman in the line of succession to the French throne, in a last desperate bid to reconcile his people.
Facing widespread hostility against this policy of appeasement and at the instigation of his mother, Catherine de Medici, Charles oversaw the massacre of numerous Huguenot leaders who gathered in Paris for the royal wedding. However, his direct involvement is still debated. This event, known as the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, was a significant blow to the Huguenot movement, and religious civil warfare soon began anew.
Charles sought to take advantage of the disarray of the Huguenots by ordering the siege of La Rochelle, but was unable to take the Protestant stronghold.
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?
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 😉
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...