Italian philately generally begins with stamps issued by states such as Modena, Parma, Naples, and Sicily before the unification of Italy in the 1860s. Stamps printed by the Papal States and the Republic of San Marino are also included under the Italian banner. Not surprisingly, stamps printed at Vatican City have emphasized the architecture of St. Mark’s Basilica, as well as religious figures and Catholic values, while those from San Marino have celebrated everything from railways (1932) to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1947). One curious corner of Italian stamps are the double-verticals printed in 1924, which feature King Victor Emmanuel III on the top portion of the stamp and an advertisement on the bottom, with no perforation between the two. Maybe that’s a solution for the financially troubled U.S. Postal Service?

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