Messenger passports, as shown below, are gone with her passing and becoming valuable passport historical items. But make no mistake, these documents must be returned after duty. Finding such a document on the collectors/auction market will most likely be impossible. Queens Messenger Passports
The end of the Queen’s Messenger passports and a new area for Kings Messengers
Elizabeth II, born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary on April 21, 1926, reigned as monarch of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth states from February 6, 1952, until her passing on September 8, 2022.
She served as the head of state for 15 realms at the time of her death, and as the queen regnant of 32 sovereign states during her lifetime. Her 70 years and 214 days of confirmed rule made her the longest-reigning female monarch in history and the longest reign of any British monarch.
I have several exciting articles on this type of passport online. You will easily find them in the search bar. There is also an astonishing article about a man who showed up at the UK Antique Roadshow with SIX of such messenger passports. Don’t miss reading that one, and watch the video too. Queens Messenger Passports
History Queens Messenger Passports
The English monarchy’s retinues clearly show the formal position and title of “Royal Messenger,” whether to the King or Queen, dating as far back as the early 12th century. Whether they traveled on foot or a horse, they were referred to as “Nuncii” or “Cursores” and were paid generously. Individuals with this capacity can be found in records from the reigns of Kings John, Henry III, and the first three Edwards, demonstrating the importance of their position. On behalf of the government, they sent messages across England and other nations.
They traveled in circuits so that the King and his staff could receive regular updates on the orders given. They served as the primary method of communication with local authorities like mayors and sheriffs. Additionally, they occasionally moved items or money across the nation. There were between 30 and 60 people working. Queens Messenger Passports
John Norman, a famous King’s Messenger of the 15th century, was chosen in 1485 by King Richard III to carry classified secrets personally. Charles II designated four dependable individuals to deliver messages to the Royalist forces in England while he was in exile. The King gave each man one of the four silver greyhounds he had broken from a bowl familiar to royal courtiers as a token of their authority.
Thus, a silver greyhound was chosen as the Service’s emblem. Male messengers wear ties with a covert greyhound motif when working, and the Queen’s Messengers wear this symbol from a ribbon on more formal occasions.
In 1824 the messengers became a formal part of the UK Foreign Office.
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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