Elizabeth I – Queen of England Passport

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Elizabeth I England Passport

ELIZABETH I (1533-1603), Queen of England and Ireland. Document signed, a passport for Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, addressed to the Commander of the town of Berwick and others, Westminster, 28 April 1565, signed by the Queen at the head, written in brown ink on paper in a secretary hand, one page, oblong 4to (210 x 320mm), integral blank leaf endorsed on verso ‘Pasport for Sir Nicholas Throkmorton’ (seal cut from below text leaving hole approximately 40 mm diameter, wax stain from seal on integral leaf, weak in folds, light stains, soiled on 2nd leaf). Provenance: for the history of the Throckmorton papers, see previous lot; Sotheby’s sale, 21 July 1980; the Spiro Family Collection.

ELIZABETH’S ATTEMPT TO PREVENT THE MARRIAGE OF MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS, WITH LORD DARNLEY

The document is addressed to the Commander of Berwick and all mayors, sheriffs, bailiffs, stablers, customers, comptrollers, searchers, and other ministers, officers, and subjects, commanding them to give assistance and free passage to Sir Nicholas and his servants.

‘Oure will and straight commaundement is that youe and every of youe do not only see him furnished for himself and his servants of hable post horses from place to place between this and Barwyck at our price but also suffre hym and his sayd servaunts with his money Jewels bagges bagguages and all other his and their Utensiles and necessaryes quietly to pass by you w[i]thout any maner your lett s[ea]rch trouble or contradiction as ye tendre our ples[u]re and will answer for the contrary at your perills.’ Elizabeth I England PassportElizabeth I England Passport
Throckmorton was despatched in haste to Scotland in April 1565 with orders to endeavor to ‘stay’ the marriage of Mary Queen of Scots with Henry, Lord Darnley. So that Mary might have unmistakable evidence that the entire English privy council opposed it, he carried in his pocket the resolution of the committee that the marriage would be unsuitable, unprofitable, and ‘perilous to the amity between the queens and both realms.’ On arriving at Stirling, he presented orders for Darnley to return to England and received a promise from the Queen of Scots that the final steps would not be taken for three months. But on 22 July, Mary took the inevitable step of publishing the marriage banns. Darnley was proclaimed king on the 28th, and their marriage celebrated on the 29th.

This fantastic document was auctioned in 2008 with a result of GBP 20,000.

Elizabeth I England 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...