Holy Stamps - Stamp Collection of Vatican City


Nov 13, 2014 Europe/London

‘A nation within a city’- this is just one of the many descriptions that one can read about Vatican City. The Vatican is found within the city of Rome, and considered as the smallest nation in the world. This state which is the seat of Catholicism is even smaller than the National Mall located in Washington DC. The Vatican officially gained its independent status from Italy on February 11, 1929 through the Lateran Pacts, and it was at that time when a set of commemorative stamps were issued to mark the event. It was on August 1, 1929 that the government of Vatican City issued its first batch of stamps.
In 2008, Vatican City once again observed another landmark celebration, the 80th anniversary of its birth as an independent state. Another series of Vatican City-inspired stamps were designed and printed by the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. The Smithsonian is the state’s postal office, and had initiated a plan to digitize the complete collection of Vatican stamps numbering to 1,496 stamps designed and printed from 1929 to 2008. All stamps inspired and printed by the Vatican City are tracked and studied by The Vatican Philatelic Society based in the United States. The Office collaborated with the National Postal Museum to digitize all covers and postal history and put all these online for the benefit of the general public. All the digitized copies of the stamps also came with information culled from ‘Vatican Notes’.

Examples of Vatican City Stamps

Vatican City - To commemorate its political independence, the state designed and printed stamps showing the St. Peter’s Basilica. These stamps were issued on August 1, 1929.
Pontificate of Pius XI - From 1922 to 1939, the state issued stamps that reflected the state that was ruled by the pope. Definitive and commemoratives were issued including the stamp shown on the left.
Pontificate of Pius XII - From 1939 to 1958, the Vatican issued stamps that commemorate the era of Pius XII, considered as the most troubled pontificate of the 20th century. This era covered the Second World War up to the start of Cold War era.
Pontificate of John Paul II - During the reign of John Paul, the Vatican issued a number of commemoratives and definitive from 1978 to 2005. As one of the more popular popes in history, the youngest and also the first non-Italian pope since 1523, his pontificate naturally received admiration and respect and was the subject of many memorable stamps in Vatican history.