Lübeck – the former capital and Queen City of the Hanseatic League – was founded in the 12th century and prospered until the 16th century as the major trading center for northern Europe. It has remained a center for maritime commerce to this day, particularly with the Nordic countries. Despite the damage, it suffered during the Second World War, the old city’s basic structure consisted mainly of 15th- and 16th-century patrician residences, public monuments (the famous Holstentor brick gate), churches, and salt storehouses, remains unaltered. Passport Hanseatic City Luebeck
Lübeck is on the World Heritage List of the UNESCO!
Founded in 1143 on the Baltic coast of northern Germany, Lübeck was from 1230 to 1535 one of the principal cities of the Hanseatic League, a league of merchant cities that came to hold a monopoly over the trade of the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. The plan of the Old Town island of Lübeck, with its blade-like outline determined by two parallel routes of traffic running along the crest of the island, dates back to the beginnings of the city and attests to its expansion as a commercial center of Northern Europe. To the west, the most affluent quarters with the trading houses and the homes of the wealthy merchants are located, and to the east, small commerces and artisans. The rigorous socio-economic organization emerges through the singular disposition of the Buden, small workshops set in the back courtyards of the rich hares, to which access was provided through a narrow network of alleyways (Gänge).
Lübeck has remained an urban monument characteristic of a significant historical structure even though the city was severely damaged during World War II. Almost 20% of it was destroyed, including the most famous monumental complexes- the Cathedral of Lübeck, the churches of St Peter and St Mary, and especially the Gründungsviertel, the hilltop quarter where the gabled houses of the wealthy merchants clustered. Selective reconstruction has permitted the replacement of the most important churches and monuments. Passport Hanseatic City Luebeck
As outstanding buildings, the most authentic areas of the Hanseatic City of Lübeck exemplify the power and the historical role of the Hanseatic League. The heart of the Old Town is surrounded by water on all sides and, partly, by dams and park areas. Despite the damage it suffered during the Second World War, the Old City’s basic structure consisted mainly of 15th, and 16th-century Patrician residences, public monuments (the famous Holstentor brick gate), churches, and salt storehouses remain unaltered. Today, its layout is clearly recognizable as a harmonious, complete masterpiece, and its uniquely uniform silhouette is visible from far. Passport Hanseatic City Luebeck
One double sheet, 34.8 x 22.5 cm. Printed and handwritten passport of the Free and Hanseatic City of Lübeck from December 6, 1841.
“Im Namen der Hansestadt Lübeck werden alle Civil- und Militair-Behörden ersucht” dem “Schüler Anton Gütschow, gebürtig und wohnhaft in Lübeck, welcher sich durch Persönlichkeit gehörig legitimiert und um seinen Pass nach Frankreich, England und Holland über Hamburg nachgesucht hat, frei und ungehindert passieren und repassieren, ihm auch nöthigenfalls Schutz und Beistand angedeiehn zu lassen”. Passport Hanseatic City Luebeck
Signed by Anton Gütschow and (presumably) Dr. Matthias Sievers, alderman of the Hanseatic City of Lübeck. The letterhead with the double-headed imperial eagle with Hanseatic coat of arms as a breastplate. With the stamp “Polizey Siegel der Stadt Lübeck” and on the verso two further seals, various stamps and the handwritten confirmations of the French, British, Dutch, and Belgian consulates on departure and onward travel. – Anton Christoph Gütschow (1823-?) was the son of Carl Philipp Gütschow, a Lübeck physician and the first doctor of the Lübeck mental hospital. Gütschow Junior also became a physician. His father is considered the model for the character of the family doctor Dr. Friedrich Grabow in Thomas Mann’s “Buddenbrooks.”
The German Empire passports of the Free Hanseatic City of Lübeck are already one of the rarest booklets of a collector can grab. Still, such a double-folio passport from 1841 with a rather prominent name is indeed something outstanding! When the passport was issued in 1841, Lübeck had a population of only 25.000 citizens. Nowadays, it’s 221.000.
More details on the city https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/272/
Passport Hanseatic City Luebeck
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.
Question? Contact me...