Vatican City Collection

Topical Reference Page
refer to caption

200 lire St. Peter's Basilica stamp, March 23, 1993

In the heart of the Italian peninsula, nestled within the city of Rome, lies the world's smallest nation. Vatican City, less than one half the size of the National Mall in Washington, DC, became politically independent from Italy under the Lateran Pacts of February 11, 1929. Two days later, the Vatican post office began operating with donated supplies and equipment. It issued its first stamps on August 1, 1929.

To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the birth of the Vatican City nation and its post office, the Smithsonian National Postal Museum has digitized its complete collection of 1,496 Vatican stamps from 1929 to 2008.

The Vatican Philatelic Society, based in the United States, is the only organization in the world devoted exclusively to the collection and study of the stamps, covers, and postal history of the Vatican City State. The Society cooperated with the National Postal Museum in putting these Vatican stamps online by allowing the NPM to republish information from the fifty-year run of their journal, Vatican Notes.

Vatican City Collection »

The National Postal Museum would like to thank the many volunteers and staff members who worked on this collection. Specifically, NPM Web Team members MJ Meredith, Christine Mereand, and Alex Haimann (database management and imaging), and Bill Lommel (website publication); Daniel Piazza, NPM Curator and author of Vatican City narratives; and Elizabeth Schorr, NPM Collections Manager. Additionally, a special thanks to Kellie Keating, NPM Intern, for imaging the collection and editing object descriptions; volunteers Ron Fett and Whitney Morell for many hours spent transcribing and editing object descriptions; and Terry Sheahan, editorial consultant.

500 lire God single, Vatican City

Designed to support Catholic school curriculum, this guide to the National Postal Museum’s Vatican City stamp collection provides an introduction to the wealth of visual resources to illustrate papal history, biblical stories, and saints.

The collection was donated in two parts. The first gift, made in 1953 by Irvin Hermanoff, William Winokur, Seymour Winokur, and Lawrence Hollander, consisted of 8 volumes. Two years later, Hermanoff and the Winokur brothers made a second donation.

Related Blogs

New Vatican City Stamps Added to Collection Database

Vatican City might be the world’s tiniest nation but it’s no slouch when it comes to stamp design.

Volunteer Spotlight: James Hamilton, Philatelist and Researcher

Since becoming a Research Volunteer in 2009, James Hamilton has written about hundreds of...