Ferdinand Ludwig von Zeppelin Passport 1828

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Ferdinand Ludwig Zeppelin Passport

Passport issued by Count Friedrich von Zeppelin 1828
Friedrich von Zeppelin on a painting from 1838

I am delighted to share with you this excellent document which I could only acquire with the support of a great fellow collector. Theo, you are the best! Another superb example of a collector`s collaboration. The displayed passport issued by Count Friedrich Jerôme Wilhelm Karl Graf von Zeppelin, Minister of State, Supreme Chamberlain, Extraordinary Envoy of King Wilhelm I. of Württemberg at the Royal Austrian Court in Vienna, and father of Ferdinand Adolf Heinrich August Graf von Zeppelin – the inventor of the Zeppelin airships.

The passport has several visas on the reverse and is printed/written on heavy paper. The condition is just excellent and is initially signed by Friedrich von Zeppelin. A masterpiece! I know a collector who had the passport of Ferdinand von Zeppelin (the Zeppelin inventor) in his collection. He claimed to have it sold for $8000. Having these two documents in one collection would be the perfect match.

Ferdinand von Zeppelin

joined the Austrian dragoon regiment Duke of Württemberg (number 38) in 1789 at the age of 16 as an ensign. The colonel-owner of the regiment was Duke Carl Eugen at that time. During the Turkish War from 1788 to 1791 Zeppelin suffered his first wound. In the twelve years, he belonged to the regiment he rose to the rank of knight master in 1800. Another serious wound in the Battle of Marengo on 14 June 1800 caused him a war injury, which caused him more or less serious complications throughout his life. One year later he was discharged from Austrian military service with honor.

On 16 August 1801 Zeppelin entered the service of the Duke and later King Friedrich of Württemberg. He was appointed ducal chamberlain, major and wing adjutant of the cavalry. In 1803 he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel and in 1804 to colonel and commander of the Gardes du Corps. In 1805, for health reasons, he changed from active military service to the civil office of an electoral travel marshal. In 1807, he was appointed Real Privy Councilor and Extraordinary Plenipotentiary Envoy to Paris.

Bavarian-Württemberg Border Regulation Treaty

In July of 1810, he went from Paris to Ulm to supervise the implementation of the Bavarian-Württemberg border regulation treaty in the office of a “Landvogts an der Donau” (bailiff on the Danube). On 12 February 1812, King Frederick appointed him Minister of State and Cabinet and, succeeding Karl August Ludwig Graf von Taube, appointed him head of the Department of Foreign Affairs. It was Ferdinand von Zeppelin’s essential merit that on November 2, 1813, the Kingdom of Württemberg entered the coalition camp against Napoleon with the Treaty of Fulda in good time, so that Prince Metternich gave an assurance of the continued existence of the kingdom.

Thus Württemberg could emerge from the wars of liberation at the side of the victors. On 14 July 1814, Zeppelin took over the Department of Royal House and Family Affairs as State and Conference Minister in place of the sick Count von Taube and became Grand Chancellor of the Royal Orders and the police (especially in the two residences of Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg). The Department of Foreign Affairs went to the Count of Wintzingerode on 7 August 1814. As early as 27 July 1814, Zeppelin went to Paris to the court of the restored Bourbon King Louis XVIII as an extraordinary envoy, retaining his ministerial posts.

Zeppelin had to leave Paris

Due to the reign of the Hundred Days associated with Napoleon’s return from Elba, Zeppelin had to leave Paris in March 1815 in a hurry and return to Stuttgart. On 9 November 1816, he was again appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, Royal House and Residence Police. With the constitution of the Privy Council in November 1817, he was appointed “Minister of State and Privy Council”. On 17 May 1819, he was dismissed from the Württemberg civil service. From 1819 to 1826 he was a landowner in the Württemberg town of Münster.

On 19 November 1820 Zeppelin was appointed a lifelong member of the Chamber of State Lords “as proof of royal trust”. In 1826 he became an extraordinary envoy at the imperial court of Vienna. On his way there, Zeppelin delivered a letter from his King Wilhelm of Württemberg to King Ludwig of Bavaria, who suggested the establishment of a customs association between the two kingdoms. In Vienna, he again met his former supreme employer, the Austrian Emperor Franz. At the age of 57, Ferdinand von Zeppelin died of a painful stomach complaint in Vienna. Ferdinand Ludwig von Zeppelin Passport 1828

The Passport

Ferdinand Ludwig Zeppelin Passport

A large double-folio, thick paper. Issued in Vienna on 1 July 1828, just seven months before his death. The passport was issued to fifty-seven-year-old FRANZ VIERLINGER, a landowner. The document number is 52, and the passport was issued without charge (GRATIS), which is unusual for an “ordinary” man like Vierlinger. Besides the massive code of arms of the Kingdom of Württemberg on the upper margin, we can see the small code of arms of the house of Zeppelin at the lower margin, including the signature “Gr. von Zeppelin”.

The second signature is from the legation secretary HERMANN VON MASSENBACH (source: http://www.landesarchiv-bw.de/plink/?f=1-52784). Vierlinger’s passport bears eight visas from 1 July 1828 to 2 June 1829.

Without question, a passport issued by such a prominent person and statesman is a fantastic document of German passport history and at the same time most rare. Happy to have it in my fine collection.





Ferdinand Ludwig Zeppelin 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...