New Vatican postal stamps carry Pope’s image

The Vatican has released the first postage stamps bearing a portrait of Pope Benedict XVI.

On May 24, the Vatican philatelic bureau issued a 3-stamp set, in values of 45, 62, and 80 cents (European). Each stamp carries its own inscription: Habemus Papam; Tu es Petrus; and Episcopus Romae respectively.

The last postage stamps issued by the Vatican were those commemorating the transition between Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Carrying a picture of an angel, and the legend "Vacant See 2005," they were quickly sold out to collectors.

Prior to that special issue, the last stamps produced by the Vatican were placed on sale in November 2004. The next set is expected to be a joint effort, with Germany, to commemorate World Youth Day in August.

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