Vatican City may be small by both geographical (110 acres) and population (about 1,000 people) standards, but its influence is felt worldwide. It is, of course, an ecclesiastical state ruled by the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope of the Catholic Church, and includes within its confines St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and various Vatican museums.
The modern Vatican state came into existence in 1929 and began issuing postage stamps in that same year. The following aspects of Vatican stamps make them especially attractive to stamp collectors:
One might add to this that Vatican stamp designs are generally considered to be quite attractive, and that collecting Vatican stamps is comparatively straightforward; mint examples of earlier issues are usually encountered in “lightly hinged” condition, and most later items can be found in “mint never hinged” condition. Prices for many Vatican issues are quite reasonable although, as one would expect, there are harder-to-find items that command significantly higher prices.
Incidentally, many Vatican stamps are not just issued for philatelic purposes but do see actual postal service; the Vatican Post Office has been referred to as being one of the most efficient in the world, and a number of modern residents of Rome use the Vatican postal service for important mail. The postal service is also made use of by many of the approximately 20,000 tourists who visit Vatican City each day. According to the Universal Postal Union, "more letters are sent each year, per inhabitant, from the Vatican's 00120 postal code than from anywhere else in the world."
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