Conservation of your collectibles

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Conservation collectibles
I was offered a fine old document from the early 17th Century but it was infected by mold. Here comes a comprehensive article from the NSW State Archive and Records about mold and how to treat mold.

What is mold?

Mold is a generic name often applied to various types of fungi that grow on the surfaces of materials such as fabrics, paper, food, and leather. They are multicellular organisms that send filaments through the materials they grow on and produce enzymes to break down their food. Molds reproduce through the production of small spores which are carried through the air and deposited on surfaces – these spores are in the air all the time and cannot be eliminated from storage areas. Given the right conditions, these spores will germinate and grow. Conservation Removing mold documents

Conservation collectibles
Example from my collection: Prussian passport 1806 issued in Berlin for negotiator Adolphe Huelsenbeck, possibly for the Confederated States of the Rhine.

On this page Conservation collectibles

Before you begin

Removing mold can be difficult, dirty and time-consuming. Mold remediation should not be undertaken lightly – especially where large quantities of records are affected. If you find mold growing on any of your records it is first important to determine the extent of the problem.

Small quantities of records can be dealt with fairly easily, but large quantities are usually best left to professional remediation companies. This is both because the work is dirty and repetitive, but also if not cleaned properly the mold can spread and cause more problems. It is important to determine whether your mold is dead or alive before doing any cleaning. Live mold is more difficult to remove and will smear easily. If the mold is alive it also indicates that the environmental conditions of the storage area continue to be unacceptable. Conservation Removing mold documents

If you are dealing with a discrete and fairly small outbreak it is preferable to isolate the affected records from the rest of your collection. Place affected materials into plastic bags or air-tight plastic tubs and remove them to a dry, well-ventilated space where they can be cleaned.

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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...