Old Passports In Leather Wallets

What you see here are four beautiful passports from the collection of my fellow collector Brian, a British collector who build truly a fine collection of US and UK  passports.

Such travel documents in leather wallets are not standard. The usual US or UK passport in the 19th century came just on plain thin paper and made the documents easily vulnerable especially on frequent travels. The shown leather wallets were extras offered by passport agents to make the document more durable and at the same time more “important”. I guess it was a difference when you showed a official just a plain piece of paper or such a “posh” passport in leather wallet with golden imprint.

The second picture shows a invoice of a passport agent which is absolutely rare to find. You can see all the extra services offered and you get a impression of the costs. We can assume that such passports in leather wallets were rather made for wealthier people. The US passport of Benjamin Avery and his family is even fixed on a stronger linen background to make the paper more durable. Such documents are not often to find. Thank your for sharing, Brian!

Leather walletThe passports are issued between 1848 and 1869

UK passport invoice 1857Invoice for William J.Adams 1857