USN Diplomatic Passports Lieutenant Harp

Discover these fascinating diplomatic passports, adorned in unique red and green leather covers with exquisite golden imprints, elegantly displaying the bearers’ names and passport numbers. These remarkable travel documents belonged to Navy Lieutenant Orland Charles Harp, serving as an Attaché to the US embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, and his wife, Janet Sowell Harp. Both passports were issued in the memorable year of 1952. US Diplomatic Passports

The Documents

Charles’s passport is a treasure trove of experiences, containing 48 pages accompanied by an additional 14 extension pages, culminating in a grand total of 62 pages. Each page narrates a captivating tale of adventure, adorned with a rich assortment of intriguing visas and stamps. The diplomatic visas elegantly grace the pages, obtained from the enchanting lands of Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Aden Colony.

Janet’s passport, although equally charming with its 48 pages, has not been adorned with as many stamps and visas as Charles’s. Nevertheless, it remains a cherished collectible, housed in an equally uncommon leather cover.

Both of these diplomatic passports hold significant historical value and serve as cherished mementos of a bygone era. Their unique leather covers make them truly standout collectibles, sure to captivate the interest of any avid collector or history enthusiast.

The latest rank of Orland Charles Harp was Lt Cmdr, US Navy, he served in WWII, Korea & Vietnam. He died in 2009 and is buried at Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida, USA, Plot: A-22 A 12 – together with his wife Janet who died in 2014.

US Ambassador in Iraq US Diplomatic Passports

US Ambassador in Iraq back then was  Burton Yost Berry (August 31, 1901 – August 22, 1985) an American diplomat and art collector.

Born in Fowler, Indiana, Berry studied at Indiana University. In 1928 he joined the United States Foreign Service. Berry served as Vice-Consul to Istanbul from 1929 to 1931, Consul to Athens in 1938, Istanbul in 1943, Bucharest in 1944, Director of the State Department’s Office of African, South Asian, and Near East Affairs in 1947, Budapest in 1948, and as Ambassador to Iraq from 1952 to 1954. He then retired and lived in Istanbul, Beirut, Cairo, and finally in Zürich.

Early on in his career, Berry began to collect Middle Eastern textiles coins, gems, jewelry, and other antiques. The textile collection was donated to the Art Institute of Chicago. Many of the coins were donated to the American Numismatic Society. Much of the rest was donated to the Indiana University Art Museum.

US Diplomatic Passports

US Diplomatic Passports 1952 with Leather Covers
Nice red passport cover with individual golden imprint
Us diplomatic passport
Nice green passport cover with individual golden imprint
Two Awesome US Diplomatic Passports Including Unusual Leather Covers
for Harp’s wife
for Harp himself


FAQ Passport History
Passport collection, passport renewal, old passports for sale, vintage passport, emergency passport renewal, same day passport, passport application, 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?

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...