Swiss Canton Lucerne Passport Booklet 1914

Canton Lucerne Passport Booklet

Swiss cantonal passport booklets are very rare to find. Until the beginning of 1915, Each Canton, in total 25, issued their own passports. It is a real challenge for a Swiss passport collector to find them all. Just like the different states in the German Empire. I still miss “only” four duchies, but they are, of course, the most difficult to find.

So far, I have seen Swiss cantonal passport booklets from Zurich (1893+1914), Aargau (1914+1915), Vaud (1913), Schaffhausen (1879), and the here displayed Luzern (1914). That’s only five different types out of 25.

Switzerland is divided into 26 cantons. Each is an independent and sovereign entity, with its own capital town or city. The cantons vary greatly as to size, culture, religion and socioeconomic structure.

With 1.4 million inhabitants, the canton of Zurich is the most heavily populated, while Appenzell-Innerrhoden, with a mere 15,500 inhabitants, is the most sparsely populated canton in Switzerland.

The cantons are the collection of stand-alone states which joined forces in 1848 to form a Confederation, although this required them to surrender some of their sovereignty. The number of cantons remained the same until 1979 when Jura split from the canton of Bern and became Switzerland’s 26th canton.

Six cantons, historically referred to as “half-cantons”, send only one deputy to the Council of States (upper house of the Federal Assembly). They are Obwalden, Nidwalden, Appenzell-Innerrhoden, Appenzell-Ausserrhoden, Basel-Stadt, and Basel-Land. Canton Lucerne Passport Booklet

Each canton has its own constitution, parliament, government, and courts. According to the principle of subsidiarity enshrined in the Federal Constitution, all powers that are not expressly granted to the Confederation fall within the competence of the cantons. The cantons enjoy a high degree of autonomy in areas like education, health and policing.

The cantonal parliaments vary in size, with the number of popularly elected deputies ranging from 50 to 180. The five- or seven-member cantonal governments are also directly elected by the people. Canton Lucerne Passport Booklet

The cantons of Appenzell-Innerrhoden and Glarus still practice a type of direct democracy that is the only form of its kind in the world – the “Landsgemeinde”, or people’s assembly. Once a year, the citizens of these cantons converge on their capital’s main square to elect, with a show of hands, the members of the executive, and to cast their vote on draft cantonal legislation. The results are more an estimate than an exact calculation. In all other cantons, the electorate cast their vote at the ballot box.

Canton Lucerne Passport Booklet



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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?

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...