Passport 1792 issued by Francis James Jackson

Francis James JacksonFrancis James Jackson (December 1770 – 5 August 1814) was a British diplomat, ambassador to the Ottoman EmpirePrussia, and the United States. He entered the diplomatic service only at age 16 as a foreign service clerk!

In April 1788, he brought back from The Hague the signed copy of “a treaty of defensive alliance between His Majesty and the States-General of the United Provinces,” signed on 15 April. This treaty and a subsequent alliance with Prussia in August 1788 created a “Triple Alliance” against Russia, which lasted only until 1791. Francis James Jackson

In 1789 Jackson was appointed Secretary to the British legation in Berlin. He later held a similar post in Madrid where he acted as Minister (head of mission) ad interim after the departure of Lord St Helens in 1794 until the arrival of the Marquess of Bute in 1795 (because Lord Yarmouth, who should have succeeded St Helens, did not go). Jackson was then appointed ambassador to the Ottoman Porte in 1796. In November 1801, Marquess Cornwallis was sent to France to finalize peace terms: the negotiations took place at Amiens and resulted in the Treaty of Amiens signed on 25 March 1802. Cornwallis took with him to Amiens, the secretary to the embassy in Paris, Anthony Merry, and Jackson was sent to take Merry’s place ad interim with minister-plenipotentiary rank. In October 1802, he moved on to be Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Prussia in Berlin, where he stayed until 1806 when Prussia was defeated in the Fourth War Coalition. In 1807 he was sent on a special mission to Denmark where he witnessed the bombardment of Copenhagen. Francis James Jackson

In 1809 Jackson was sent to Washington, D.C., as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary after David Erskine’s recall when the British government refused to ratify Erskine’s attempt to resolve the difficulties following a conflict between HMS Leopard and the US frigate Chesapeake (the Chesapeake–Leopard Affair). Jackson remained at Washington until 1811. He died at Brighton, after a long illness, in 1814. Francis James Jackson

Francis James Jackson
Passport issued in Madrid 1792 to Lieutenant Georges Byrnes (?)

A very nice passport historical document of a British diplomat who started at the age of only 16 as a foreign office clerk. What a career! The document was offered online but is torn and taped, and for such a condition, the price was far too high. I made the seller a reasonable offer, but he rejected it.


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...