Swiss Collective Passport 1951

Swiss Collective Passport

Such a Collective Passport 1951 for members of a gymnastic club is extraordinary. Nowadays, they are no longer issued (except in the UK – of course) as each traveler needs their own document. This example I got from my Swiss fellow collector Ernst. Meeting up with Ernst is always a pleasure as we understand each other’s needs and make just a swap – no money involved.

Twenty-five people travel to Spain, France, and Morocco. Visas and revenue stamps from these countries are included. The travel document was issued in 1951 in Zürich. I now have about a dozen such collective travel documents in my collection, which are pretty interesting. Swiss Collective Passport

A highlight is a 1930s Yugoslavia passport for 69 people traveling to Greece. They managed to put 69 tiny photos in the passport. Amazing! I just realized I never made an article about it. Well, stay tuned…

A bit of Swiss passport history…
The Swiss passport is one of the oldest passports in the world. It was first introduced in 1490, and it has been continuously issued since then. The Swiss passport has a long and interesting history.

The first Swiss passports were introduced in 1490. They were issued to citizens of the canton of Schwyz, and they allowed them to travel freely throughout the Swiss Confederation. The passports were valid for one year, and they had to be renewed every year.

In 1516, the canton of Zurich introduced its own passport, which was also valid for one year. In 1525, the cantons of Bern and Lucerne introduced their own passports. These passports were valid for two years.

In 1673, a new type of passport was introduced. This passport was valid for four years and could be renewed every four years. This passport was known as the “Passeport Valaisan”.

In 1815, after the Napoleonic Wars, Switzerland became a neutral country. As a result, the need for passports diminished and they were no longer regularly issued.

In 1848, following the Revolutions of 1848, Switzerland became a federal state.


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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...