Louis XIII King of France Passport 1636 – Peace Congress Cologne

Louis XIII King of France Passport 1636 – Peace Congress Cologne

Philippe de Champaigne - Louis XIII of France in Coronation Robes (between 1622 and 1639). Royal Collection RCIN 404108
Philippe de Champaigne – Louis XIII of France in Coronation Robes (between 1622 and 1639). Royal Collection RCIN 404108

LOUIS XIII (1601-1643) King of France 1610-43 and King of Navarre 1610-20. L.S., `Louis´, by his secretary, one page, folio, Camp de D?, 27th October 1636, in old French. The cleanly written document is a passport in favor of the Ambassador appointed by the Mainz Elector, who is on his way to the Peace Congress which Pope Urban VIII convoked in October 1636 in Cologne, trying to reconcile the three crowns and bring back peace to Europe. Countersigned by Claude Bouthillier, a bold and large attractive signature. Bearing beneath the signatures a good paper seal affixed. With blank integral leaf. Folded, with small overall age wear and creasing.

Claude Bouthillier, grand trésorier de l'Ordre du Saint-Esprit, à la réception d'Henri II d'Orléans, duc de Longueville, le 15 mai 1633.
Claude Bouthillier, grand trésorier de l’Ordre du Saint-Esprit, à la réception d’Henri II d’Orléans, duc de Longueville, le 15 mai 1633.

Claude Bouthillier (1581-1652) French Statesman and Diplomat, Secretary of State and Foreign Affairs Minister 1629-32. Sieur de Fouilletourte. Richelieu employed him on many diplomatic missions trusting Bouthillier’s ability who negotiate the alliances which brought France into the Thirty Year´s War. Richelieu made him executor of his will, and King Louis XIII named him a member of the council of regency which should govern the kingdom after his death.

A fantastic early 17th-century passport in great condition. Issued for an important event at that time. However, Congress failed and it took another twelve years to end the Thirty-years war with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.



The Thirty Years’ War was a conflict fought largely within the Holy Roman Empire from 1618 to 1648. Considered one of the most destructive wars in European history, estimates of total deaths caused by the conflict range from 4.5 to 8 million, while some areas of Germany experienced population declines of over 50%. Related conflicts include the Eighty Years’ War, the War of the Mantuan Succession, the Franco-Spanish War, and the Portuguese Restoration War.

Louis XIII King of France Passport 1636 – Peace Congress Cologne

Louis XIII 1636 passport
Louis XIII 1636 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...