Passport collectors – Quo Vadis?
I don’t want to bother you with the current economic, inflation, and political situation, but the collectors market is on a downward trend. Following the market for 20 years as a passport history expert and collector, I believe this statement is justified.
2012 to 2014 was the “hot market” for passport collectors. 2015 to 2018 was a solid market on a still high level. The downfall began in 2019 and is still ongoing today. Nowadays, there is a lot of quantity but no quality available. Even for occasionally rare listed items, prices are far from what was paid ten years ago.
The highest price was archived in 2022 for two late 1918 Russian diplomatic passports sold for 2200 EUR. Auction results hardly reach values over 100 EUR for old travel documents today if looking at a specific online platform.
Also, the classic auction houses have very little to offer regarding historical passports. New, younger collectors go into modern ePassports rather than collect travel documents with a solid passport history.
Some are hoarders who “collect” not only simply everything but also multiple copies of the same type. It’s OK to upgrade to a better condition or more exciting content. But if you get half a dozen of the exact same type – that’s hoarding and has nothing to do with collecting. I find such people pretty selfish as they deny other collectors the chance to grab exactly such a document for their collection, which they search for maybe for years.
As mentioned before we lost three long-time collectors last year. They all had a fine collection. I know one collection will go to an archive. Another was partly sold and the third one – no idea what happened there.
Another German long-time collector tries to sell his large collection for years but his asking price was always too stiff and even more so in the current situation.
The market is down on quality and price levels. Even some long-time collectors are rather selling (partly) than adding to the existing collection. This is at least my impression when communicating with collectors, no matter if they are from the USA or Europe. The ones who still adding documents to their collection (like myself) do so only at a moderate price level. No big spending (as there are anyway no quality items available). WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Happy hunting. May the next treasure find its way into your fine collection.