Giovanni Mocenigo as Doge of Venice – Passport

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VENICE. Document of Giovanni Mocenigo as Doge of Venice (1409-1485, Doge from 1478), Dogal Palace, Venice, 25 January 1480, a passport for his ‘ductor’ [waggoner], Gaspar of Perugia, who is going to Perugia ‘pro nonnullis eius negotiis’, asking that he be given free passage with ten horses, his arms, and all his baggage, in Italian on vellum, 14 lines on one membrane, 190 x 315mm, Giovanni’s dogal seal in lead. Giovanni Mocenigo Venice Passport

A 15th Century passport is surely something you don’t see every day. A beauty!

Giovanni Mocenigo Venice Passport

Giovanni Ser di Mocenigo, Jr. (1409 – November 4, 1485), Pietro Mocenigo‘s brother, was doge of Venice from 1478 to 1485. He fought at sea against the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II and on land against Ercole I d’Este, duke of Ferrara, from whom he recaptured Rovigo and the Polesine. He was interred in the Basilica di Santi Giovanni e Paolo, a traditional burial place of the doges. His dogaressa was Taddea Michiel (d. 1479), who was to be the last dogaressa to be crowned in Venice until Zilia Dandolo in 1557, almost a century later.

MOCENIGO, the name of a noble and ancient Venetian family which gave many doges, statesmen, and soldiers to the republic. Tommaso Mocinego (1343–1423) commanded the crusading fleet in the expedition to Nicopolis in 1396, and also won battles against the Genoese. While he was Venetian ambassador at Cremona he was elected doge (1414), and he escaped in secret, fearing that he might be held a prisoner by Gabrino Fondolo, tyrant of that city. He made peace with the Turkish sultan, but when hostilities broke out afresh his fleet defeated that of the Turks at Gallipoli. During his reign, the patriarch of Aquileia was forced to cede his territories to the republic (1420), which also acquired Friuli and Dalmatia. Tommaso greatly encouraged commerce, reconstructed the ducal palace, and commenced the library. Giovanni Mocenigo Venice Passport

Pietro Mocinego, doge from 1474 to 1476, was one of the greatest Venetian admirals and revived the fortunes of his country’s navy, which had fallen very low after the defeat at Negropont in 1470. In 1472 he captured and destroyed Smyrna; the following year he placed Catherine Cornaro, queen of Cyprus, under Venetian protection, and by that means the republic obtained possession of the island in 1475. He then defeated the Turks who were besieging Scutari, but he there contracted an illness of which he died. Giovanni Mocinego, Pietro’s brother, who was doge from 1478 to 1485, fought against Mohammed II. and Ercole I., duke of Ferrara, from whom he recaptured Rovigo and the Polesine. Luigi Mocinego was doge from 1570 to 1577. During his reign, Venice lost the fortresses Nicosia and Famagosta in Cyprus. Giovanni Mocenigo Venice Passport

He took part in the battle of Lepanto, but after the loss of Cyprus, he was forced to make peace with the Turks and to hand them back his conquests. Andrea Mocinego, who flourished in the 15th and 16th centuries, was a senator of the republic and a historian; he composed a work on the league of Cambrai entitled Belli memorabilia Cameracensis Adversus Venetos Historiae Libri vi. (Venice, 1525). Another Luigi Mocinego was doge from 1700 to 1709, and his brother Sebastiano from 1722 to 1732. Alvise Mocinego (1701–1778), who was doge from 1763 until his death, restricted the privileges of the clergy, and in consequence, came into bitter conflict with Pope Clement XIII.

Giovanni Mocenigo Venice 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...