My archive/collection includes 1000+ travel documents and is always growing. The earliest travel document is from 1646 but also includes several collectibles which are significant documents of German history.
Another key topic of my research & collection are Schutz-Passes (protection passes) & Schutz-Letters (protection letters) issued during the Holocaust by Righteous Diplomats e.g.Sugihara, Wallenberg, Lutz, Rotta to save Jewish lives. Such documents are outstanding evidence of the Holocaust.
Passport-collector.com is well recognized by international collectors and other interested parties. I am in regular contact with museums and archives, I do advise foundations and support museums. Hollywood filmmakers, universities, libraries and TV stations contacting me when it comes to passports and their history.
Numerous articles on passport history and passport collecting were published by me (references & testimonials). I can say I do have the most comprehensive documentation and database when it comes to travel documents. Here you will find also several guidelines on passport history & collecting as there are no so many books available on the topic in general.
A famous man once said, “If you don’t find what you looking for – create it – be it!” So, I did as there was nothing available at all. All is done by my private time and efforts.
Tom Topol, January 2019
Legal Note On Passport Collecting
The purpose of this site is to establish a platform for collectors, historians, researchers, and other interested parties to share and exchange information, knowledge, and collectibles and to raise awareness of passport collecting as a leisure activity.
All passports presented on this website are obsolete and for research,
educational & collection purposes only!
Passports as government property
Most countries declare by law that passports are government property and may be confiscated, withdrawn or revoked at any time, usually on specified grounds. A confiscation, withdrawal or revocation is generally subject to judicial review. The definition of “Government property” is stated in most of the passports and/or in the country-specific passport law and came up (by my best knowledge) within the last 30-40 years. Really old passports (100 years old and more) do not have such a statement at all – not on the document nor in the passport laws at that time.
Is passport collecting legal? YES, don’t worry it is – as long the passports are obsolete!
I was in contact with several government agencies and even they are often unable to give a clear statement. Basically, it is safe to say that passport collecting is “tolerated” as long you have a good reason for your collection, e.g. for historical research. Normally you will get your old and however obsolete marked passport back when you pick up your new one. This indicates that passport offices do not really have an interest in their “property” by collecting “old paper”.
The German Interior Department e.g. made the following statement to me by email(translated by the author)
“The retention of title extends only to passports and identity cards of the Federal Republic of Germany. The pattern of the passports and identity cards from the period before 1945 and from the former German Democratic Republic (GDR – East Germany) are very different from the current one. Those “historical” documents are therefore NOT protected.”
Also, the patterns after 1945 till the 1980s are very different to the current one so there should be also no retention of title in my opinion. The statement of the German Interior Department can be used as an example for travel documents of other countries but of course, each country has his own views and laws which must not conform with this example!