Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Catalog Data

paper; ink(multicolored)
Postage Stamps
VATICAN CITY (independent city state)
August 1, 1929
Vatican City issued its first set of stamps on August 1, 1929, often termed the "Conciliation Issue," referring to reconciliation between Vatican City and Italy, symbolized in the Conciliation Treaty, part of the Lateran Pacts of 1929. Article 2 of the treaty recognized Vatican City's sovereignty in international matters, and Article 6 of the Treaty authorized Vatican City to arrange for its own postal services. Vatican City became part of the Universal Postal Union on June 1, 1929, and subsequent agreements with Italy regularized the postal responsibilities of the two states.
The set includes fifteen stamps, the first seven of which feature the Papal Tiara and Crossed Keys of St. Peter (the Papal Arms). These stamps include values of 5- (brown/rose), 10- (grey-green/green), 20- (violet/lilac), 25- (blue/azure), 30- (black/yellow), 50- (black/salmon) and 75- centesmi (carmine/grey). These stamps measure 2.5 x 2 cm.
Another six stamps in the set feature a horizontal, engraved vignette of Pope Pius XI (1922-1939). These stamps include values of 80-c (carmine), 1.25-lire (blue), 2-lire (sepia), 2.50-lire (vermillion), 5-lire (green), and 10-lire (olive-black). These stamps measure 2 x 2.5 cm.
In addition, Vatican City issued two Express Mail stamps, horizontal in design, a 2-lire carmine and a 2.50-lire blue stamp bearing the engraving of Pope Pius XI with the "Espresso" inscription. These stamps measure 4 x 2.5 cm.
All of the stamps include the inscription "Poste Vaticane," and "MCMXXIX" (1929), with the stamp value expressed in centessimi or lire.
E. Frederici designed the stamps. Stamps #1-7 were prepared by recess printing, and stamps #8-13 and E1-2 were prepared by photogravure. The Italian State Printers, Rome, produced the stamps. No watermarks appear on these stamps. The set is perforated 14 x 14.
Some of these stamps were overprinted in 1931 and 1934 (see Vatican Scott Numbers 14 and 35-40). The Conciliation Issue stamps remained on sale until December 31, 1933.
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.
"Vatican City," in Scott Standard Stamp Catalogue, volume 6. Sidney, Ohio: Scott Publishing Company, 2006.
Benedict Williamson, The Treaty of the Lateran. London: Burns, Oates, & Washbourne, Ltd., 1929.
"The Philatelic and Numismatic Office" of Vatican City, located at, accessed September 9, 2010.
International Stamps & Mail  Search this
Object number:
See more items in:
National Postal Museum Collection
Data Source:
National Postal Museum