Vatican City is a remnant of former Italian territories called Papal or Roman States. These states issued their own stamps 1852-70, until absorbed by the Kingdom of Italy. Designs of the first Vatican City stamps reflected those earlier issues, featuring the papal coat of arms – the Keys of St. Peter and the papal crown. Since then, Vatican City has produced many high-quality stamps focusing on Catholic themes, such as the canonization of Pope John XXIII, Mother Teresa, and John Paul II. In 1999, the proceeds of a stamp printed on granite paper was used to aid victims of the fighting in Kosovo. SEDE VACANTE overprinted on Vatican City stamps means there is a papal vacancy.
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