Vatican City recognized the 700th anniversary of the death of St. Clare of Assisi by issuing two stamps on August 12, 1953. The set includes a25-lire (deep brown, yellow-brown, turquoise, and violet-brown) and 35-lire (brown, yellow-brown, and brown-red) values.
The vertical design features a vignette of St. Clare, inspired by a fresco completed in 1325 by Giotto (ca. 1267-1337) located in the Bardi Chapel of the Bailica of Santa Croce, Florence, Italy. "S. Chiara Di Assisi" and "1253-1953" appear at the top of the stamp; "Post Vaticante" and the stamp's value appear at the bottom.
St. Clare (1194-1253), born Chiara Offreduccio, was the daughter of a noble family of Assisi, Italy. Her life intertwined closely with that of St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226). Francis inspired and encouraged Clare to adopt a life of poverty and prayer. In 1212, at age eighteen and over her father's objections, she and her sister Agnes joined Francis in a cloistered life. St. Clare founded the Order of Poor Clares at San Damiano, Assisi, which eventually spread to over seventy-five countries. Canonized in 1255, in 1260 her remains were transferred to the Basilica di Santa Chiara in Assisi, where she is entombed along with her sisters, St. Agnes of Assisi (also d. 1253) and Beatrix, and her mother, all members of the Order.
The stamp measures 3 cm x 4 cm and is perforated 13 1/4 x 13. E. Pizzi designed the stamp, and Italian State Printers, Rome, prepared 200,000 sets of the stamp by photogravure. The set remained valid for postage until withdrawn December 31, 1954. The stamps covered postal charges for letter rates in Italy, in combination with other stamps for international mail, and/or to cover the cost for letters weighing more than the first 20 grams.
- "Vatikanstaat," in Michel Europa Katalog, band 3, Sudeuropa, Unterschleisheim, Germany: Schwanberger Verlag GMBH, 2008.
- "Vatican City," Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue, part 8, Italy and Switzerland, 7th edition, Hampshire, England: Ringwood, 2010.
- "St. Clare of Assisi," The Catholic Encyclopedia.
- "Vatican City Postal Rate Chart After 1929," from Vatican Philatelic Society website, vaticanphilately.org/charts.htm, accessed 8 July 2010.
Date: August 12, 1953
Medium: paper; ink (multicolored)
Museum ID: 2008.2009.163
Place: VATICAN CITY (independent city state)
Collection: National Postal Museum (SI)