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07 June 2017

Once upon a time there were many more countries in the world than there are today. Some of them have been absorbed into larger areas. Some have changed names due to fragile politics. And some have disappeared altogether. But their passports remain, or at least a small number of them.


For passport collectors, there are some truly prized passports out there, just waiting to be found.


The British Colonies

Now that most of the British Colonies have long gone, any passports from those countries are both interesting and collectable. North Borneo is probably the most elusive, but another one that is always enjoyed is from Colony and Protectorate of Aden (now Yemen). Sporting the familiar lion and unicorn crest, this passport is completely different to the one that is used in the area today.


The Free State of Fiume

Fiume was once a tiny little state all on its own before it was made part of Croatia in 1923. Before that, it had technically been part of Hungary (1868), although it was allowed to do its own thing – and therefore had its own passport. The ‘free state’ name was given in 1920, after the First World War. The international community felt it would be a good idea to have an additional barrier between Italy and what would, eventually, become Yugoslavia. Just in case. Although there were many different languages spoken, Fiume was still one state.

The Soviet Union

There wasn’t just one passport for the entire Soviet Union – there were a number of different ones. There was an internal one (with a green cover) was given to those working in the towns, and it was designed to stop peasants from entering the towns. There was another document that allowed for foreign travel (although it did not allow travel to Romania, Palestine, the USA, Bulgaria, or Africa – this required additional documentation).


British Palestine

British Palestine became Israel in 1948, and a passport dating from before that time is quite a rarity. If you come across one in an antiques fair or similar, you might want to keep hold of it…


German Empire

There were many little areas, duchies, free cities, and principalities that went to making up the German Empire. The green passports issued here soon stopped once the whole area was absorbed into Bavaria in 1920 (a big year, it seems for change). The strange thing about passports issued in the German Empire was that the rules allowed for people to have their photos taken with their dogs if they wanted to. 

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