The Vatican Philatelic and Numismatic Office has more work this year due to the Jubilee of Mercy and World Youth Day. Therefore, as a tradition, a special edition of stamps commemorating each event has been produced.
These are some of the seven stamps for 95 cents that the Vatican is launching for the Holy Year. They represent give drink to the thirsty, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and give shelter to the pilgrims. The special stamps are now available.
The series of stamps began with the opening of the Holy Door and will end in the coming months with these three other corporal works of mercy: visiting the imprisoned, visiting the sick and burying the dead.
Director, Vatican Philatelic Office"There is a common theme throughout the stamps, the works of mercy, because it is the Holy Year of Mercy. Each stamp is designed by a different artist, so that each brings a personal interpretation to the stamps."
The Vatican and Poland have made another style of different stamps for the next World Youth Day in Krakow. They are designed by artist Monika Rybczynska. Each costs one euro and shows some young children receiving the blessing of Pope Francis.
Director, Vatican Philatelic Office"We are very happy because they are very nice from the point of view of the image and the realization, because these stamps are made by an incision on the metal, a very beautiful and elegant philatelic impression."
New technologies have marginalized the traditional way of postal communication.
Very few people send letters with a stamp of the Vatican because they can send a photo of the Basilica of Saint Peter on their mobile phone. Philately still has a practical value, although the main consumers are collectors.
Director, Vatican Philatelic Office"There is no generational change, when collectors are old and they stop collecting, it is difficult to continue the collection because there may not be a child or grandchild who wants to inherit the collection. Therefore there is a general decline of philately, not only in the Vatican. In fact, the Vatican over the years have managed to cope with the fall by diversifying supply, working, creating pleasant objects and offering them to the pilgrims in St. Peter's Square."
There are 280,000 sets of stamps for World Youth Day and 150,000 for the Jubilee. The Vatican also produces regular stamps for the Pope and the Vatican and postcards. They produce them in classic styles designed by hand or by modern computers.
The stamps are more than a useful object for correspondence, but are a tangible reminder of special events.