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Cassock worn by Pope Francis up for auction in July

J-P Mauro - published on 07/07/22

An anonymous seller is auctioning off an authentic set of the iconic papal outfit, starting at $25,000.

An anonymous consigner is preparing to sell off a white cassock and zucchetto (skull cap) worn by Pope Francis. The garments were both signed by Pope Francis, as can be seen in the video featured above. Bidding, set to conclude on July 16, starts at $25,000, with a buyers premium set at $31,250.

Cassock

According to Heritage Auctions, this is the clothing that the pope typically wears outside of liturgical functions. The iconic white cassock is made from “superfine 140’s luxury merino wool by Holland and Sherry / Savile Row / London.” The pope’s signature, written in a black felt-tip pen, appears on the pellegrina (the cape).

The lot comes with two papal certificates each signed by His Holiness’ Private Secretary Don Fabio Salerno, confirming the authenticity of the garments. Although they have been worn by the pope, the cassock and zucchetto are considered to be in “beautiful condition, with only a few pinpoint instances of soiling around the trim and hem.”

Manicinelli

The auctioneers note that the cassock and zucchetto bear the label of “Mancinelli [Clero],” a small custom clothing shop outside the walls of the Vatican. This shop has been around for 60 years and has dressed three different popes and countless priests. Raniero Mancinelli, proprietor of the store, was the preferred tailor of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis continued this patronage after he was elevated to the Papal office. 

Heritage supplied a quote from Mancinelli, who told Rome Reports in 2020: 

“Humility and lowering my head when working, that is what I have sought to do. I have been blessed. I started working for a simple priest and little by little my work reached the pope. I served three popes and it’s a big deal. Many times journalists ask me, ‘now who do you want to clothe?’ I reply, ‘No one, because after the pope there is only God.'”

Design and condition

In an interview with Artnet News, Mancinelli explained that he had dressed Pope Benedict XVI since he was Cardinal Ratzinger. He said of his work for Pope Francis: 

“When Francis came to me after he was elected, he asked me to simplify certain small details in the cassock when I re-designed it for him; he didn’t care at all about the flourishes.” 

The clothier noted that the white garments tend to get dirty very easily and need regular cleaning and maintenance. He also explained that because the outfit wears out easily he has multiple versions from different materials that offer the pope a range of options depending on the season.

See the lot at Heritage Auctions.

Tags:
Pope Francis
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