Thousands of official papal medals, in gold, silver and bronze, have been pulled from sale in official Vatican stores, because the word “Jesus” was misspelled on a Latin inscription circling the edge of the coin. Instead, the word reads “Lesus.” The commemorative medals honoring Pope Francis, reports Reuters on Friday, Oct. 11, had been available to the public for two days before the error was noticed. At least four of the coins were sold.
Did no one look? Many people who live and work in the Vatican actually read and write Latin fluently, but perhaps those people don’t spend much time in the tourist shops.
The Italian State Mint produced the coins, but the Vatican Publishing House announced the withdrawal of the coins with “Jesus” misspelled. No one has yet taken responsibility for the design error.
On the Vatican website, the complete sentence reads: "Vidit ergo Jesus publicanum, et quia miserando atque eligendo vidit, ait illi, 'Sequere me'" which translates to "Jesus therefore sees the tax collector, and since he sees by having mercy and by choosing, he says to him, ‘follow me'".
The four coins already sold have not been accounted for, and they could turn into quite a windfall for the owners, since genuine error coins bring high prices on the collector’s market. It is a sure bet most of the remaining coins will be destroyed as quickly as possible, before they slip into unscrupulous hands.