At least 3,500 fake Vatican parchments that were being sold to unsuspecting pilgrims taking part in Pope Francis' Holy Year celebrations were seized Monday by Police in Rome, according to Associated Press sources.
Police said they apprehended the parchments, valued at approximately 70,000 euros ($77,091 USD) at a souvenir shop near St. Peter's Basilica, where heightened police patrols were positioned to protect pilgrims taking part in the yearlong Jubilee celebrations.
When purchased legitimately inside the Vatican, the parchments range from $8 to $40 apiece, according to The New York Times.
The parchments reportedly were copies of the calligraphed Apostolic Blessing parchments that are sold inside the Vatican by Francis' chief alms-giver to fund the pope's charitable efforts. The parchments are valued keepsakes, commemorating births, marriages and in this case, Holy Year pilgrimages.
Monday's sequester is part of the 1 million counterfeit objects seized in the first week of the Jubilee celebrations, states the Times.