Boxing Legend Rocky Marciano Passport 1965

Another exciting reader’s email came in offering the US passport of Rocco Marchegiano, better known as Rocky Marciano. Rocky was an American professional boxer who competed from 1947 to 1955 and held the world heavyweight title from 1952 to 1956. He is the only heavyweight champion to have finished his career undefeated! Boxing Legend Rocky Marciano

B&W postcard of World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Marciano, circa 1953


Marciano remains the only fighter to have stopped every opponent he ever faced for the world heavyweight title, and holds the highest knockout-to-win ratio in world heavyweight title fights at 87.8%. His career knockout-to-win percentage of 87.8% remains one of the highest in heavyweight boxing history.


Rocky Marciano started fighting as a professional boxer in 1948, winning a fight against Harry Bilizarian. He then went on to win his first 16 fights. In 1952, he beat Jersey Joe Walcott for the world heavyweight championship. Marciano defended his title six times. He retired in 1956 and died in 1969.


In Brockton, Massachusetts, Marciano was born as Rocco Francis Marchegianon on September 1, 1923, to Italian immigrants Pierino Marchegiano and Pasqualina Picciuto. Marciano and his three sisters and two brothers lived across the street from the James Edgar Playground, where Marciano spent countless hours playing baseball. He worked out on homemade weights at a young age and did chin-ups until he “was fatigued.” Boxing Legend Rocky Marciano

Marciano attended Brockton High School and played baseball and football but got cut from the varsity baseball team when he violated rules by joining a church league. He dropped out of school in the 10th grade and began jumping from job to job, one of which was a floor sweeper position at Brockton’s shoe factory. In 1943, Marciano was drafted into the Army and sent to Wales, where he ferried supplies across the English Channel to Normandy. He completed his service in March 1946 at Fort Lewis, Washington.


Marciano met Barbara Cousins, the daughter of a retired Brockton police sergeant, in 1947. They married on December 31, 1950. They had one daughter, Mary Ann, and adopted a son, Rocco Kevin. Boxing Legend Rocky Marciano

Killed in Plane Crash

After boxing, in 1961, Marciano hosted a weekly boxing show on TV. He also worked as a referee and boxing commentator for many years in boxing matches. On August 31, 1969, the eve of his 46th birthday, Marciano was killed in a tragic plane crash. Five years later, Barbara succumbed to lung cancer at age 46.

Rocky Marciano US Passport 1965
US Passport issued in 1965

Two others died in the crash: Marciano’s family friend Frankie Farrell, and the pilot Glenn Belz. The plane took off around 6 pm from Midway Airport in Chicago, bound for Des Moines, Iowa. Farrell had planned to open a Des Moines-based insurance agency, and Marciano had agreed to come to support his friend.


The plane went down about 30 miles from Des Moines, in Newton, Iowa. In retrospect, the accident was all the more tragic because it could easily have been avoided. To begin with, the plane had taken off despite warnings in Chicago of poor weather along their flight path. Even worse, the pilot was not qualified to fly a plane at night. Boxing Legend Rocky Marciano


A report conducted after the crash determined that Belz had found himself in circumstances that exceeded his experience and abilities. A more professional approach would have been to weigh the known weather factors against his piloting experience, making a conservative judgment about whether it was safe to fly. Instead, the preventable accident cost the world a legendary boxer.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t close a deal with the owner, but I can show his document here.

Joe Frazier’s Passport


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...