Gijsbert Karel Count van Hogendorp
This Dutch passport issued in 1814 in Amsterdam in the name of Gijsbert Karel, Count van Hogendorp is a pretty nice example of a travel document used just briefly before the Netherlands became a Kingdom in 1815 with his first King William I. Gijsbert Karel, Count van Hogendorp (27 October 1762 – 5 August 1834) was a conservative Dutch statesman.
Van Hogendorp was born in Rotterdam, and went to school in Berlin. In 1785 he attended the University of Leiden, where he majored in law. He was pensionaris, main legal adviser and advocate, of Rotterdam from 1788 to 1795, only to be dismissed for having princely “orange” sympathies after a republican revolt. He was part of the Driemanschap (Triumvirate) that invited William I of the Netherlands to become Prince of the newly independent Netherlands in 1813 and played an important role in the establishment of the monarchy and served as Prime Minister from 1813 to 1814, and headed the commission that wrote the Constitution of the Netherlands of 1814.
Gijsbert Karel served in 1778 in the regiment of Prince Henry of Prussia, then at the court of Frederick II the Great of Prussia. He goes back to Berlin in 1779. He is very inquisitive and dedicated to Latin and Greek. He goes back to the Netherlands in 1781.
The document is signed by a member of a noble family from the region of Rotterdam, a town and region where several members of the family played a significant role. As the signature only says “van Zuylen van Nijevelt” it’s for me not 100% clear which of the notable family member is meant here as several options are possible. Several family members have been mayor, governor, minister, and prime minister! My best guess is Hugo van Zuylen van Nijevelt (lawyer, later secretary to the Ambassador in Paris, Ambassador in Spain, Sweden, and Turkey*). Gijsbert Karel Count van Hogendorp
Fun fact – he was the great-great-great-grandfather of Audrey Hepburn. So far I did not find any information from the bearer of the passport – Thomas Ferguson who seems to be a British subject. This passport was issued to Ferguson going to Frankfurt, Germany.
FAQ Passport History 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?
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 😉
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.
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