A SKULLCAP worn by Pope Francis while on a visit to Italy is expected to fetch £25,000 at auction this month.
His holiness gifted the silk hat to an Italian TV show host in June 2014, during the general audience in St Peter’s Square in Rome.
The Pope was passing through crowds when the TV host offered him the new skullcap, which he inspected before exchanging his own for it.
Such an exchange is a practice common with Popes, which was started by Pope Pius XII
The holy skullcap, which was made especially for the Pope, is a symbolic religious symbol within the Catholic Church, which is not allowed to be sold after his death.
However, the current owner has decided to auction the valuable item for charity - with funds raised going to the Save a Child’s Heart organisation.
It will be auctioned by online auction house Catawiki, who will also donate their fees to the charity, on April 24.
Frederik Jamees, Catawiki’s specialist devotionalia auctioneer, said: “It is extremely rare that a religious symbol of this magnitude goes up for auction.
“The Pope’s clothing is made especially for him, and after his death the articles automatically become relics, meaning that they are no longer allowed to be sold.”
He added: “This auction is a unique opportunity for museums, collectors and devout Catholics to acquire ‘a relic in the making’ and also to help others by donating money to Save a Child’s Heart. “Given the Pope’s following, we expect to see an influx of bids from across the globe.”
The online auction opened on April 8 - click skullcap for full details.