Top 10 pieces of Pope Memorabilia ever sold

The Pope is the official successor to Saint Peter, the first Bishop of Rome and the figure now said to guard the gates of heaven.

As the head of the Catholic Church, which has around 1.2bn members, the Papacy is a uniquely powerful position.  

Catholicism has a long tradition of venerating the relics of important figures within the church. This has resulted in a strong market for papal memorabilia among the faithful. Here are some of the most fascinating artefacts we’ve come across.

10. Pope Francis’ zucchetto

Pope Zucchetto

(Image: Catawiki)

There’s a long-standing tradition in the church, where the Pope will swap his distinctive skullcap (known as a zucchetto) for one you offer him.

That’s provided it’s an official specimen, acquired from the Papal tailors in Rome.

Demand is particularly high for artefacts associated with Pope Francis, one of the most popular pontiffs of all time.

In 2014, this zucchetto made $113,210 for charity on eBay. Pope Francis had swapped it with a TV presenter filming outside the Vatican.

9. Pope Francis’ iPad

Pope iPad

(Image: Castells)

An iPad is not necessarily something you’d associate with the head of the Catholic Church.

But presumably the Pope needs something to catch up with his Netflix schedule on.

The reverse is inscribed “His Holiness Francisco. Servizio Internet Vatican, March 2013” and sold for $30,500 at a charity auction in 2015.

8. Pope Pius XII’s skullcap

Pope skullcap

(Image: Paul Fraser Collectibles)

Pius XII was head of the church during the second world war, keeping the Vatican neutral while condemning Nazi atrocities.

He’s also the figure who started the tradition of swapping Papal skullcaps. Paul Fraser Collectibles has a rare specimen for sale in its online store.

7. Pope Benedict XVI’s VW Golf

Pope VW Golf

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

As you’ll discover shortly, cars are among the most common (and sought after) items of memorabilia offered in Papal auctions.

This VW Golf once belonged to Pope Benedict XVI. It was acquired by online casino company GoldenPalace for around $245,000 at auction.

6. Pope Paul VI’s Lincoln Continental Limo

Pope Limousine Lincoln

(Image: Bonhams)

This is the Lincoln Continental Limousine John Paul VI used on his visit to New York City in 1965.

It also carried the Apollo 8, 11, 13 and 15 astronauts during their ticker tape parades through the middle of Chicago – something that will have certainly helped push up the auction price to $220,000.

5. Pope Francis’ Lamborghini Huracan

Pope Lamborghini Sothebys

(Image: RM Sotheby's)

This outrageous Lamborghini Huracan is painted in Vatican City colours. The marque produced it especially for the Papacy in 2017.

The church decided to auction it to raise funds for Syrian Christians affected by the war with ISIS. It raised $950,000 for the cause.

4. Pope Francis’ Harley-Davidson

Pope Harley Davidson

(Image: RM Sotheby's)

Harley-Davidson is typically associated with the less than holy Hell’s Angels, but Pope Francis was more than happy to bless one gifted him by the company in 2014.

There’s no evidence that he took it out for a spin around St Peter’s Square, however. The bike made $325,904 for charity when it went to auction.

3. Pope Benedict XVI’s carpet

Pope Red Carpet

(Image: Paul Fraser Collectibles)

Here’s an unusual piece – it’s a fragment of red carpet laid down for Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Westminster Cathedral in London in 2010.

The Pope walked on it for several minutes before meeting with local choristers.

2. Pope John Paul II’s Ford Escort

Pope Ford Escort

(Image: RM Sotheby's)

When you think of the kind of car a Pope would be likely to drive, a Ford Escort would probably be fairly low down the list.

But Pope John Paul II regularly tooled around Rome in his little blue jalopy. That is up until 1981, when an attempt was made on his life.

Wisely, John Paul decided to give up driving. He donated the car to a charity auction in 1995, where it achieved $102,000. The buyer sold it on for $700,000 after John Paul’s death in 2005.

1. Pope Paul II’s signet

Pope signet ring

(Image: Christie's)

One of the most intimate items we’ve seen come to auction is this gold signet ring, made especially for Paul II (1464-1471).

It’s engraved PAULUS II PONTIFEX MAXIMUS and set with a sardonyx intaglio bezel bearing a likeness of Saints Peter and Paul.

Sotheby’s auctioned it for £36,500 ($47,182) in 2007. A bargain price for a ring belonging to one of the most powerful figures of the 15th century.

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