There are commemorative coins and banknotes but did you ever hear about commemorative passports? Let me enlighten you. There are commemorative passports, but they are very, very rare. I know about three examples which I will introduce here. If you think there are more, please let me know. Commemorative Passports History
United States of America: Commemorative Passport “American Revolution Bicentennial 1776 — 1976”
The 1976 Bicentennial passport is smaller. Prettier. Easier to keep clean. It’s cover. A new, more durable leather-grained vinyl material in a dark blue, corresponding to the field of the US flag, is replacing the lighter “horizon blue” of passports issued from 1961 through 1975. and the dull green of the ones before that.
The foil stamping of the lettering and Great Seal is done in silver-colored aluminum rather than gold. On the front cover is the inscription, “Bicentennial 1776-1976”; on the back cover is the Bicentennial seal. Commemorative Passports History
There’s a new look inside the Bicentennial passport, too. Its interior pages feature a Liberty Bell pattern printed with a specially-formulated red and blue ink. A grid pattern is printed on the visa pages to encourage the orderly stamping of entry and exit stamps.
And for the first time, conforming to international practice, the passport is bilingual. The message from the Secretary of State, the captions of the identification data, and the titles of the amendments and endorsements page appear in both English and French.
The passport fee in 1976 was $10 plus an execution fee of $3. The passport had only twenty pages and was valid for five years. The Bicentennial was issued only during the calendar year 1976. Commemorative Passports History
United States of America: Commemorative Passport “Benjamin Franklin – 200 years US Consular Service.”
In 1993 the blue US passport became green again to honor Benjamin Franklin and the 200th anniversary of the US Consular Service.
From April 1993 to March 1994, this special passport was issued. According to the statistics of the foreign office, 4.2 million copies of this type have been given.
Andorra: Commemorative Passport “700 years Andorra 1278 — 1978.”
There is not much information on this Andorra passport. It had 32 pages, and only the cover mentioned the anniversary. The travel document was issued only in 1978. The population of Andorra in 1980 was only 35.460; hence such a commemorative type must be scarce. Commemorative Passports History
Andorra is the rarest of all three special issues, followed by the Bicenntinial and the Franklin. So far, I only know that these two countries have issued a special passport edition. If you know of others, please let me know!
A Swiss colleague suggested once to the Swiss government to issue a special passport edition on 700 years Ruetlischwur – he never got a reply.
It takes too much effort and might be mainly a security printing issue that states do not make such commemorative passports anymore. A pity as they make splendid collectibles. Commemorative Passports History