George John Gordon Appointment as Ambassador to Switzerland in 1855

 George John Gordon Ambassador

Such appointments are pretty rare to find! George John Gordon Appointment as Ambassador to Switzerland in 1855.

Antique appointment credentials, signed by Queen Victoria, appointing British diplomat George John Robert Gordon (1812-1912), as Minister Plenipotentiary to the Swiss Confederation. A post he held until 1858. Signed boldly in black ink in the top left-hand corner and affixed with the Great Seal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, featuring Queen Victoria seated on her throne on one side and on her horse holding a scepter on the other, held with silver thread cord. George John Gordon Ambassador

“Victoria, by the Grace of God, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc. etc. etc George John Gordon Ambassador
To All and Singular to whom these Presents shall come into discussion, between Us and the Swiss Confederation, We have judged it expedient to invest a fit person with Full Powers to conduct the said discussion on Our Part. Know thee, therefore, We, reposing especial Trust and Confidence in the Wisdom, Loyalty, Diligence, and Circumspection of Our Trusty and well Beloved George John Robert Gordon, Esquire, Our Minister Plenipotentiary to the Swiss Confederation, have named, made constituted, and appointed, as We do by these Presents name, make, constitute, and appoint him Our undoubted Commissioner, Procurator, and Plenipotentiary: Giving to him all manner of Power and Authority to treat, adjust, and conclude, with such Minister or Ministers as may be vested with similar Power and Authority on the part of the Swiss Confederation, any Treaty, Convention, or Agreement that may tend to the attention of the above-mentioned, and to sign for Us and in Our Name, everything so agreed upon and concluded and to do and transact all such other matters as may appertain to the finishing of the aforesaid work, in as ample manner and form, and with equal force and efficacy, as We Ourselves could do, if Personally Present: Engaging and Promising upon Our Royal Word, that whatever things shall be so transacted  and concluded by Our said Commissioner, Procurator and Plenipotentiary , shall be agreed to, acknowledged, and accepted by Us in the fullest manner, and that We will never suffer, either in the whole or in part, any person whatsoever to infringe the same, or act contrary thereto, as far as it lies in Our Power. In Witness of which We have caused the Great Seal of Our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland to be affixed to these Presents, which We have signed with Our Royal Hand. Given at Our Court at Buckingham Palace, the Twenty-Seventh day of April, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty-Five, and in the eighteenth year of Our Reign.” George John Gordon Ambassador

George John Gordon Ambassador

Gordon was the oldest child of Alexander Gordon and Albinia Elizabeth Cumberland; and joined the diplomatic service in 1833. He served at Stockholm, Stuttgart, Rio de Janeiro, Hanover, and Berne. He married Rosa Justina Young in Rio in 1843, and they had three children. After 30 years of marriage, however, Gordon declared himself a bachelor and married again. He died in 1912 in Würzburg.


Document Size: 52 x 36 cm approx

George John Gordon Ambassador

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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...