The following commentary is from the EWTN series, The Papacy: A Living History, The Papal Artifacts Collection of Father Richard Kunst. Now available as a DVD, it may be purchased from EWTN. The artifact presented here is from Episode 3, Popes of the 20th Century.
Here is Father’s Commentary:
There are tons of gift shops all around St. Peter’s Basilica. In fact, gift shops may be the fourth most popular place at the Vatican. This item is something you would have bought probably at one of the little shops that would have been around in 1925, because it is from that year. It’s a little ‘flipper’. The official name for it is ‘flip book’. If you flip the pages fast enough it gives the illusion of a moving picture . This one is actually a photo of Pius XI giving a blessing. It was done as a souvenir to commemorate the Holy Year of 1925.
The title of the flip book reads, in Latin, “BENEDICAT VOS OMNIPOTENS DEUS, PATER ET FILIUS ET SPIRITUS SANCTUS.”
“May almighty God bless you, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
We show this item in footage included with this particular flip book. It’s this item that fascinates people the most in my Collection. I have all these really rare items, but people just get a kick out of seeing these little souvenirs.
I have a whole bunch of these little unique souvenirs in the Collection, including several flip books, which are the items that continue to be the most popular.
It is a highly collectible item. In fact there are people who collect only flippers. And to have one of a Pope giving a blessing for the Holy Year is really special.
Nowadays, people would buy a DVD. Then they bought a flipper!