Portuguese Consul Passport – Embassy in Warsaw

Portuguese Consul Passport
Usually, I would not collect such a document, as it is “too young” for my collection focus. But then I took a closer look into the pages of this well-traveled document and found most exciting visas, especially from the German Democratic Republic (GDR), and those are well within my focus. The Service Passport was issued 5 June 1975 and several times extended until December 1979.

By Car from Portugal to Poland

The first visa is a Polish visa issued at their embassy in Lisboa on 16 June 1975. Bello Sucena de Matos, so the name of the vice consul, seems to have traveled by train from Lisboa to Paris on 17 June 1975. The next three stamps are from the GDR railway stations Marienborn, Frankfurt/Oder and Berlin/East (Friedrichstrasse), all from 21 June 1975.

Then a Polish visa entering Poland from 26 June 1975. Did he travel to his post by train? The whole trip took him obviously seven days. Maybe he had a stop in Spain or France? But I can’t see any visas.

Map Portugal to Poland
A long journey by car

Most interesting for me are of course the GDR visas, as you don’t find often old passports with GDR visas issued outside from the German Democratic Republic. Usually, only officials were able to obtain such a visa outside of East Germany. The first Service visa can be seen on page fifteen of his passport, issued on December 15, 1975.

There are a total of four GDR Service visas and plenty of GDR checkpoint stamps traveling on train and car. Other visas are Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Denmark.

The Vice-Consul traveled with his wife and two sons, I have her service passport as well. His wife Yolanda also traveled to South Africa and Bulgaria according to the visas in her document. Finally, her passport has some extension pages with GDR stamps and Polish visas.

A fantastic travel document of Cold War times.


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FAQ Passport History pasaporte passeport паспорт 护照 パスポート جواز سفر पासपोर्ट

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...

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