Louis Joseph, Duke of Vendome, Passport 1704
Louis Joseph de Bourbon, Duke of Vendome (Louis Joseph; 1 July 1654 – 11 June 1712) was a French military commander during the War of the Grand Alliance and War of the Spanish Succession Marshal of France. Vendome was one of the most remarkable soldiers in the history of the French army. Besides the skill and the fertile imagination of the actual army leader, he had the brilliant courage of a soldier. However, the secret of his continuous success was his extraordinary influence over his men.
He was the son of Louis de Bourbon and the great-grandson of Henry IV of France. He was born in Paris. His mother was Laura Mancini, the elder sister of Olympia Mancini, the mother of Prince Eugene of Savoy, his future opponent.
Orphaned at the age of fifteen, he inherited a vast fortune from his father that had been handed down from his great-grandmother, the Duchesse de Mercœur et Penthièvre in her own right. Before succeeding his father in 1669, he was known as the Duc de Penthièvre. He was raised by his aunt, Marie Anne Mancini, Duchesse de Bouillon.
Entering the army at eighteen, he soon distinguished himself by his vigor and personal courage in the Dutch wars, and by 1688 he had risen to the rank of lieutenant-general. In the Nine Years’ War, he rendered conspicuous service under the Duc de Luxembourg at the Battle of Steenkerke and under Nicolas Catinat at Marsaglia. In 1695, he was placed in command of the army operating in Catalonia, where he took Barcelona in 1697.
Soon afterward, he was made a maréchal. In 1702, after the first unsuccessful campaign of Catinat and Villeroi, he was placed in command of the Franco-Spanish army in Italy. During three campaigns in that country, he proved himself a worthy antagonist to Prince Eugène of Savoy, whom he at last defeated in 1705 at Cassano in a magnificent show of courage and command over his troops, converting the impending defeat that his indolent brother, Philippe, the Grand Prior, had incurred, into a glorious success.
The following year, after holding his own as before and gaining another victory at Calcinato, he was sent to Flanders to repair the disaster of Ramillies. Following the departure of Vendôme to shore up the shattered army in the Flanders, Prince Eugène and the Duke of Savoy inflicted a heavy loss on the French under the Duc d’Orléans and Ferdinand de Marsin at the Battle of Turin, driving the French out of Italy by the end of the year. In Flanders, Vendôme quarreled with the king’s unenterprising grandson, the Duc de Bourgogne, and could not prevent the French defeat at the Battle of Oudenarde.
In disgust, Vendôme retired to his estates. It wasn’t long, however, before he was summoned back to take command of the army of his cousin, Philip, in Spain. He won his last victories there, crowning his work triumphantly in the battles of Brihuega and Villaviciosa. Before the end of the war, he died suddenly at Vinaròs on 11 June 1712 and was buried in the El Escorial in Spain.
A very early passport signed by Vendome. The paper is professionally taped, and the document is in fair collectible condition. Remember, this passport is 310 years old! A collection stamp on the back says “Collection Philippe van Heuck.”
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?
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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