Sometimes it’s surprising to see the incoming emails from readers. I received the message below, and it’s truly mind-blowing. Prince Joachim Fuerstenberg Passport
The Reader’s Email
Dear Tom, I am contacting you about the following: as an antique dealer, I bought 16 years ago a commode at auction. During the restoration of this piece of furniture, the restorer found, hidden in the back, between the drawers, a passport. On the first page, we clearly could read: ‘Erbprinz zu Fuerstenberg, Joachim.’ It is an attractive looking document, and It was issued in 1951. I was wondering if you were perhaps interested in it. We moved our store to a different location, and I came across the document again while cleaning my personal desk. Your website popped out at first sight, and I was admired by all the information you were sharing! If you wish, I can send you some images of the document. Prince Joachim Fuerstenberg Passport
I got in contact with the antique dealer, and he sent me detailed photos of the document, and indeed it was the passport of a Prince, to be more precise; it was the double-passport of Erbprinz Joachim zu Fuerstenberg.
An Erbprinz (hereditary prince) is the oldest son and heir to the throne. The father of Prince Joachim was Maximilian Egon Maria Erwin Leo Franziskus Amos Wenzeslaus Hubertus Prince zu Fürstenberg (* 31. März 1896 in Prague; † 6. April 1959 in Donaueschingen). Prince Joachim Fuerstenberg Passport
Joachim Egon Maximilian Friedrich Leo Joseph Maria Hubertus Prince zu Fürstenberg was born at Grund Castle in the Pürglitz district of Bohemia. His mother was Wilhelmine, née Countess von Schönburg-Glauchau (1902-1964).
After graduation from high school in 1941, he was then drafted as a soldier and most recently served as a lieutenant. After his return from French war captivity, he became active in the Princely-Fürstenberg general administration. Together with his wife, Paula Gräfin zu Königsegg-Aulendorf, and their children, he stayed in seclusion at Hohenlupfen Castle. When his uncle Karl Egon V. zu Fürstenberg died childless in 1973, he became head of the House of Fürstenberg. Prince Joachim Fuerstenberg Passport
Head of the House
The primary residence was moved to Donaueschingen in 1933 when his father took over the Princely Fürstenberg administration. Exactly 40 years later, after the death of his uncle Karl Egon V, the nobleman, who had been married to Paula Countess zu Königsegg-Aulendorf since 1947, became head of the House of Fürstenberg. With great talent, he combined tradition and modernity by adopting the essential branches of the house, such as wood production and brewing, to modern business requirements.
With around 20,000 hectares of forest, the Princely House is the largest private forest owner in southern Germany after Thurn und Taxis. It also owns properties in Canada and Austria. Since 1470, the House of Fürstenberg has brewed the beer of the same name. He himself loved to drink it often and often ate fresh Swabian “Maultaschen”,” recalls Mirella Fanelli, manager of the house’s own “Bräustüberl”. The Prince always sat with his wife and children in the Zirbelstube under the Herrgottswinkel in front of the green-tiled stove. “Without my family, I would be a poor man”, the father of six children once said. Prince Joachim Fuerstenberg Passport
Funeral with 500 great aristocratic guests
More than five hundred prominent mourners of great aristocratic houses bid him a final farewell, among them Ernst August of Hanover and his wife Caroline, the House of Thurn und Taxis, Duke Franz of Bavaria and Duke Karl of Württemberg, Markgraf Max of Baden with his son Bernhard, Landgraf Moritz of Hessen and the House of Liechtenstein. Former German President Roman Herzog heads the list of mourners from the political world. Joachim
Egon Fürst zu Fürstenberg died in Donaueschingen on 9 July 2002 after a long illness.
His family belongs to the oldest German noble families. The catholic family was first mentioned in documents in 1070.
A Federal German passport issued on 2 May 1951 in Donaeschingen with plenty of travels e.g. to France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, UK, USA, Mexico, and several Allied Military Government travel permits. In those years Germans needed of course a visa for all these countries and most of the visas have also revenue stamps attached. Prince Joachim Fuerstenberg Passport
Then in 1953, the passport office did something unusual, something I have never seen before when it comes to passports. As the original passport was full travels, no visa pages were left, hence they just attached and sealed another blank passport to the old one. The new passport served just as page’s extension!
This type of “extension” is truly exceptional! It’s worth noting that this extension is officially documented in his passport. I suppose any other passport office would have simply issued a new passport. Times have certainly changed, and so have the rules.
I like to thank Bert, the antique dealer, who brought this historical passport treasure to my attention and made it possible that I could acquire it for my collection! Prince Joachim Fuerstenberg Passport
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?
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...
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