NESSELRODE KARL – Russian Count and Diplomat

NESSELRODE KARL – Russian Count and Diplomat.

Attractive D.S., Comte Nesselrode, three pages, written to the first, third and fourth, on a 14.5 x 9 folio, Saint Petersburg, 17th July 1845, to Yakov Tolstoy, in Cyrillic. The partially printed document being a title-passport, with the heading `By the Grace of God – Nicholas I – Emperor and Autocrat of All Russias´, in favour of Yakov Tolstoy, High Messenger of the Emperor, and states `It is announced, by this title, to each and everyone, and to whom it may concern, that Yakov Tolstoy, Collegiate Counselor and Knight of the Ministry of National Education, is sent as special messenger by Our order through Berlin and Frankfurt to Paris.´ and further continues `For this purpose We friendly ask all the high Regions?according to ranks and merits of those to whom this might be shown? and to our military and civilian commanders, who WE most graciously order not only to let pass the aforesaid Collegiate Counselor and Cavalier Yakov Tolstoy freely and without restraint, but also to show him benevolence. In return, We promise to recompense each high Region. This Our order will be obeyed by Our subjects. As an evidence this pass is issued together with Our State Seal.´ and concludes at the foot with `According to His Emperial Majesty’s Decree´. At the foot of the front page, and written in another hand `The servant of the Collegiate Counselor Tolstoy, Hypolite Mathieu must be allowed to cross the border of the Polish Kingdom. Kaunas, 21 July 1845.´ signed beneath by the Civil Governor of Kaunas, N. Kalkatin. The document bears a red wax seal to the front in very fine condition, alongside a paper seal affixed. To third page, a partially printed text, being the German translation of the front text, Signed in another hand `Graf von Nesselrode´. To the fourth page, showing five different annotations, with signatures beneath and four ink stamps, corresponding to the different frontiers Tolstoy did cross, all bearing location and date, three in Cyrillic, one in German and the last in French, reaching Paris the 10th August 1845. Folded, with small, minor overall age.

Auction result was result 1300 EUR! But again I believe the buyer was rather an autograph than a passport collector. However a nice and interesting document.

HERE you can read more about Count Karl Robert Nesselrode

NESSELRODE KARL - Russian Count and Diplomat

 NESSELRODE KARL – Russian Count and Diplomat

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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...