Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Plethora of Passports

As a followup to Tuesday's look at Belloq's passport I wanted to offer up the "Passport Stamps and Visas"group on Flickr.   It's a fantastic resource for anyone looking to create a prop passport.  You'll find hundreds of examples spanning the 20th and 21st centuries from countries around the globe, all sourced from collectors and travelers.   The large format pictures make it easy to recreate transit stamps, or even lift them right from the posted images.

As an aside, I've become increasingly leery of recreating accurate official paper.  For a film or television series having an accurate recreation of a period document may be important, but for live action games?  Not so much.  For personal use I think "believable" trumps "accurate".  You also avoid the sad reality that a lot of official paper doesn't look nearly as cool as it should.  Central Intelligence Agency, I'm looking at you

1 comment:

CoastConFan said...

What an outstanding resource, thanks Propnomicon. Cool also trumps accurate sometimes with props. Note the transit visa on this document is for a specific person and stamped in the individual’s passport. To my knowledge there were no unattached, anonymous “bearer transit visas” documents as in the film Casablanca and that probably goes double for 3rd Reich documents. They really liked to know who was doing what.

All this made me dig out my first passport and boy does the photo look old fashioned. Part of it was the tweed jacket. The fun of it all is that it might pass for decades older than it actually is, so having seen all this document stuff, I may just have to make up a ‘40s version passport or Reichpass. More exotically for you Victorian RPG types, here’s a passport from the Ottoman Empire.

Also here’s an Ottoman ferman, which was a royal decree, that could also function as a special permission from the Sublime Porte. The ferman document was treated as the person of the Emperor himself and a very handy thing to have when traveling. The official had to hold it reverently touch it to his lips and to his forehead. Here’s a ferman (actually probably a Berat) for Lord Elgin, which allowed him to get pieces from the Acropolis of Athens and drag them off to England.

A US 1840s passport, signed by James Buchanan