Being a Messenger may be a dangerous job Messenger Passports Majesty
Although modern diplomatic relationships between nations are delicate enough at any time, they are doubly so in the time of war, and should, for example, a ciphered letter be decoded by a nation to whom it was not addressed, relations between the countries might be disrupted, and more fagots heaped on the fires of war.
Consequently, whenever the Foreign Office wishes to send valuable and confidential State documents to an embassy or legation in another country, they are sent in “the diplomatic bag” in the personal charge of a Messenger.
In 2015 there were 16 Messengers on duty for the Queen Messenger Passports Majesty
When King Charles II. first formed the corps, they had to be proficient in both horsemanship and the pistol; it is now sufficient for them to be expert shots. In those early days, they had to defend the King’s dispatches with sword and pistol, perhaps while riding in a rocking post-chaise. A brigand-infested mountain pass. It was a dangerous job.
The last Royal courier to lose his life went to look at his horses outside an Austrian inn during the Napoleonic wars and was never seen again.
Messengers carry a badge, which consists of the Royal monogram with a silver greyhound as a pendant. King Charles II. was an exile in Holland when he founded the corps and selected two English and two Dutch officials to carry his dispatches.
Silver Greyhounds Messenger Passports Majesty
When they set out on their first journey, the King Is reputed to have been at breakfast, and, pulling the silver porringer to him, he is said to have broken off the four greyhounds with which it was ornamented, giving one to each of his messengers as identification and passport. In former times, the occupation of Messenger consisted of a considerable extent of serving the warrants issued by the Secretary of State for the apprehension of persons accused of high treason and other grave offenses against the State. Nowadays, however, they are principally employed in foreign service. Messenger Passports Majesty
“Not much worth, financially, he says.” Every passionate passport collector would happily pay £1000 for each!
“Finding one Queen’s or King’s Messenger passport is already extremely rare,
but seeing six of them on the table in this show is outstanding.”
There are two antique books on the messengers, and I have both. The History of the King’s Messengers, V. Wheeler-Holohan, Grayson & Grayson, 1935 and King’s Messenger 1918-1940, Memoirs of a Silver Greyhound, Herbert Jenkins, 1941. Messenger Passports Majesty
I contacted BBC to get in touch with the bearer of the documents. Unfortunately, they told me they never revealed such information.
Then I was once in contact with a reader who holds such documents. But sadly, it all stopped at the initial contact. I am always happy with the plenty of readers’ emails I get. Often, not always, I can acquire some excellent documents. Messenger Passports Majesty
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.
Question? Contact me...
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