Passport collectors market and forecast

Collecting old passports was and still is a challenge, as such documents are in general not much available on the collectors market. Well, I am talking about historical passports and not about any currently expired modern travel document.

Fellow collectors and auction platforms (online and offline) remain the primary sources to find documents of our desire. But it’s getting more and more difficult to find quality documents. E.g., if I look at my success rate at online auctions I hardly top a 50% winning rate – and I usually am willing to spend a substantial amount for the items I like to get into my archive and collection. In contrary, I lose 50% of the things I am looking for. Why is that?

The basic rule “Supply & Demand” always remains!

A passionate long-time collector knows always defines his collection focus and is aware that the “air is getting thinner at the peak,” which means someone succeeded to fulfill probably 90% of his collection focus, but the last 10% is the hardest to achieve.

In my case, it’s the German Empire passport booklets. I’m missing only four types to reach the peak, but these four types are the most difficult to spot. I never even saw them in over 15 years of research and collecting – but they must exist as the books say so.

The British territory, which is a vast collection field, is another example but the only documents you find today are expired blue passports from 1979 to 1930 and Lord Sailsbury folios. Everything else is nowadays difficult to find. Jersey, Guernsey, British HK or British Singapore – good luck. 

Russian folio passports from the different Tsar’s? Nothing available. Early Arabic countries? Very difficult. Early Norway passports? Nothing! Let all the different extinct countries and territories aside.

Price-wise, I believe my “guideline” as laid out in my book “LET PASS OR DIE” makes sense and is a good indicator of the value of historical passports.

In my opinion, there are probably not more passport collectors in general, at least not for historical documents, but perhaps for modern expired ones. This is a trend I see for years, that younger and newbies instead go for the contemporary designed passports. Well, also they will become historical in some years, especially as ICAO recommends to re-design a modern passport about every ten years to follow up on state of the art technology.

Prices will always rise for exceptional and rare documents, which is also good news for every collector.

As the anniversary of 50 years, moon landing is on its brink on 20 July, there are six passports offered of the first man on the Moon – NEIL ARMSTRONG. Someone believes it’s an excellent time to provide them with, and probably he is right. I will watch the auction result with interest. Oh, by the way, if you can spare at least $22.000, you can bid on them. Update: sold for $81.250!

Passport collectors market and forecast

Luckily, I could already secure a passport of MOONWALKER – JOHN YOUNG. Such a travel document is most personal and always remember – we have 7 Billion people on Earth, but only 12 people have been on the Moon. 

THAT’S (PASSPORT) HISTORY!

Passport collectors market and forecast