Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Pope Souvenirs Pop Up during Historic Visit

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Pope Souvenirs Pop Up during Historic Visit

Article excerpt

NEW YORK - "WE SELL POPE DOLLS, blared a sign held up by a 7- Eleven worker on 42nd Street in Manhattan, directing customers to a store down the block. There, on an outdoor stand, were six plushy, squeezable popes, nestled rather incongruously among individually wrapped croissants and chocolate chip muffins. Employees stressed that the popes - $19.99 plus tax, and over 100 sold so far - were not edible.

The Phantom of Broadway souvenir store a few blocks away offered pope umbrellas, white or black, for $29.99. A few doors down at City Souvenirs, T-shirts advertised "I (Heart) Pope Francis for $24.99. There were magnets of several varieties, and perhaps the ultimate papal souvenir: a Pope Francis bobblehead, made by Royal Bobbles, and selling for $59.99.

"I ordered 24, and have sold all but five, said Samir Sabir, the store's manager. "People are really interested in all the pope items. I'm ordering more.

Whether to adorn your fridge, make a sartorial statement or protect yourself from the rain, there's certainly plenty of merchandise - in stores and on the street, from licensed and unlicensed vendors - to help mark and remember Pope Francis' historic U.S. visit.

In Washington, where the pontiff made his first U.S. stop, Victor Wondu was selling pins and flags earlier this week at the Apostolic Nunciature, where the pope was staying. Some pins said, "I (Heart) Pope Francis; others said "I was there! Pope Francis USA (the top seller). Wondu, a freelance artist from District Heights, Maryland, said the pins were designed by a friend, for $5 each or three for $10. Flags were $10 each.

In Philadelphia, the last stop on the pope's U.S. trip, Melissa and Rodney Cameron of Gardendale, Alabama, weren't taking any chances they'd be unprepared, souvenir-wise, when the pope arrived Saturday.

The couple, both bank employees who were in town with their 8- year-old son, Connor, for the Vatican-sponsored World Meeting of Families that the pope is attending, had just dropped $110 for a bag full of souvenirs, including two Pope Francis coffee mugs ($20 apiece), two T-shirts, and a sweatshirt. …

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