Pope Pius XII, born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli (1867 – 1958) served as head of the Catholic Church from March 1939 until his death in 1958.
His reign coincided with one of the most turbulent periods in modern European history, including World War II, the Holocaust, post-war reconstruction, the rise of communism and the Cold War.
Pius XII attempted to serve as a mediator between nations during the war, whilst remaining impartial in the conflict.
He established the Vatican Information Service, which provided information for the families of thousands of war refugees, and instructed the church to discreetly aid Jews, saving thousands of lives.
Today historians remain deeply divided about his role during WWII.
This traditional white zucchetto skullcap was personally owned and worn by Pope Pius XII.
It is customary for the Pope to offer his skullcap as a gift, if presented with another to replace it.
Pope Pius XII was the first pontiff in the modern era to start this tradition, and the practice has since been continued by Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis.
In recent years a handful of these rare Pope-worn skullcaps have appeared at auction, with examples selling for thousands of dollars.
The skullcap measures 6.5" in diameter, and includes the small label inside "[Socie]tas Mariae Reparatricis."
The skullcap is accompanied by an 'Anticamera Pontificia' card in Italian, signed by Mario Nasalli Rocca di Corneliano as Cameriere Segreto Partecipante di Sua Santita, which reads (translated):
"The white zucchetto that comes with this card was used by His Holiness Pius XII, reigning."
In fine condition, with signs of light wear.