Arago: Commemoratives


100 lire Pope Pius XI single

Scott Catalogue Vatican City: 255

Vatican City commemorated the 30th anniversary of the 1929 Lateran Treaties by issuing two stamps on May 25, 1959. The set includes a 30-lire deep brown stamp and a 100-lire deep violet-blue value.

Each stamp is vertical in design and contains a photograph of Pope Pius XI (1922-1939). The Lateran Treaties between Vatican City State and the Kingdom of Italy took place during his pontificate. The inscription "Patti Lateranessi, 1929-1939" appears at the top of the stamp. "Poste Vaticane" and the stamp's value appear at the lower edge. The pope's photograph is labeled, "Pius XI, P.M. (Pontifex Maximus), originally a title from the Roman Republic and later the Empire, signifying the highest religious office of the state, a title sometimes applied to popes.

The Lateran Treaties accomplished several goals. They recognized the Vatican City State as a distinct city-state within the then Italian Kingdom; they established relationships between Vatican City and Italy following the political unification of Italy during the 1860s; they provided financial compensation to Vatican City regarding loss of the Papal States; and ecclesiastical matters were outlined in a concordat between the two entities.

A. Grassellini designed the stamps, which measure 3 x 4 cm and contain a sideways Crossed Keys of St. Peter watermark. The perforations measure 14 x 14. Italian State Printers, Rome, printed 946,800 sets by photogravure. The stamps remained on sale until June 30, 1960.


"Vatikanstaat." Michel Europa Katalog, band 3, Sudeuropa, Unterschleissheim, Germany: Schwanberger Verlag GMBH, 2008.

"Vatican City," in Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue, part 8, Italy and Switzerland, 7th edition. Ringwood, Hampshire, England, 2010.

J. N. D. Kelly, "Pope St. Pius X," in The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Roger Collins, Keepers of the Keys of Heaven: A History of the Papacy (New York: Basic Books, 2009), 468-477.

May 25, 1959
paper; ink / photogravure
Museum ID:
VATICAN CITY (independent city state)

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