Swiss Journeyman Book & Passport 1879

Over the years, I have seen dozens of journeyman books (Wander-Buch). This book from 1879 is outstanding due to its condition and the fantastic Lithography from Luzerne, Switzerland. The book comes with a hard case and is unused, which might explain the excellent condition. This journeyman’s book comes in blue color, but I have seen also others in black, grey, or red. Swiss Journeyman Book Passport

Swiss Journeyman Book Passport


A journeyman must first complete an apprenticeship with a Mastercraftsman. After completion, a Wander-Buch (journeyman’s book) was issued by the government, allowing him to work as a journeyman craftsman in cities and towns in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. The journeyman would find a Master who needed help. The bearer of this book, Johannes Babtist Leu, 19 years young, probably didn’t find a master or there were other reasons that bis book was not used. A journeyman would give his Wander-Buch to the Master. The Master would review the work record in the Wander-Buch before hiring the journeyman. The Master would then retain the Wander-Buch and enter at the end of the job a record of the time and place of the work. The Master would sign the entry, and an official stamp would indicate the city or town where the work was done. Sometimes, the Master would make a statement about the character of the journeyman. Swiss Journeyman Book Passport


The book of Johannes has 32 pages, but I have seen others with up to 70 pages. Most books only bear the title Wander-Buch (journeyman’s book), while others also include the wording passport. I have the impression the wording journeyman’s book and passport are mostly used in Switzerland. I had once such a journeyman’s book with more than 160 stamps of work in it – the most extensive book I ever saw.


Swiss Journeyman Book Passport

Journeyman books from smaller German (Grand)-Duchies or Principalities are of course rarer than the ones from the German Kingdoms. I still have one in my collection from the Principality of Reuss, 1828! Swiss Journeyman Book Passport

These books are a great source if someone collects the various stamps and seals from German-speaking cities. I grab them if they are at a fair price but they are usually not my collection focus.