Besides meeting up with fellow collector Marco, the main reason for going to Budapest was to pick up an exceptional document. Some weeks ago, I was contacted via my website to ask if I would be interested in a RAOUL WALLENBERG SCHUTZPASS (Protection letter). Yes, you read correctly. A second WALLENBERG was available within just three months! Unbelievable! I know only two passport collectors have this critical document in their collection. Mainly you will find them in Holocaust Museums, but even there, they are scarce to see. Well, here is the picture of the precious collectible.
Besides this document, I could acquire two more documents, which are no less critical regarding life-saving documents during the Holocaust. The following pictures show a CARL LUTZ – SCHUTZBRIEF. The second document (not displayed) is the original copy of the Schutzbrief, which has a printed embassy stamp and signature. rawallenberg schutzpass
Until now, I was already blessed to find these three relevant documents, but the story is not yet finished…
Visiting antique bookstores in Budapest and asking for old passports can be an odd task, but reading further can end in a fascinating result. To make the story short, I also found a SCHUTZBRIEF issued by the SWEDISH RED CROSS and signed by the Swedish righteous VALDEMAR LANGLET. l wallenberg schutzpass
WALLENBERG, LUTZ, and LANGLET are three of the most notable people saving Jews from extermination by the Nazis. All three are most valuable when we talk about the Hungarian Jews, and the State of Israel honors all three as “Righteous among the Nations.”
Again, to make it clear – if you find one of these documents, you should be pleased, but if you find THREE of such significant documents during your research, then you are just speechless! I am thrilled to hand over again some of these outstanding documents to a Holocaust foundation.
In 2005 the Carl Lutz Foundation established a Memorial Room in the former garage of the building. The building of Vadász utca 29 (street) was designed by the architect Lajos Kozma in the 30s of the last century as a business center for the Weiss family, a dealer of glassware products for building construction. The Hungarian legislation banned the Jewish owner from exercising his profession. The Swiss Embassy’s Emigration Department for Representing Foreign Interest opened in the desolated building on July 24, 1944. The Memorial Room shows a small exhibition. However, it is an interesting one, also displaying several original Schutzpasses. I do recommend a visit there.
When I was there on August 3, there was a special event, “Day of Humanity,” with high-ranking officials, including the Hungarian Cultural Minister and German Ambassador. I could follow the speeches live with an English translation headset. Two Hungarian Jews reported about their life at this time back in 1944. They are today 95 and 105 years old.
I have to say the Holocaust exhibition is ok, but the museum is designed in very dark rooms, which I didn’t like. By today I believe the Imperial War Museum (IWM) in London still has one of the best Holocaust exhibitions in Europe. I haven’t seen the museums in Washington or Jerusalem yet. raoul wallenberg schutzpass
My three-day trip to Budapest was very fruitful and educational. I got new contacts to document dealers. The city was sweltering these days (up to 35°C), and now I am relaxing in refreshing Berlin, where I am writing this article.
FAQ Passport History
Passport collection, passport renewal, old passports for sale, vintage passport, emergency passport renewal, same day passport, passport application, 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.
Question? Contact me...