The postal system of the Vatican City State began in 1929 after the signing of the Lateran Pact with Italy in February of that year. It was not until August, however, that the first Vatican stamps were issued. Since then only Vatican stamps have been valid for postage within the Vatican City, and these special stamps are only valid for posting mail in that entity. The Vatican City is a member of the Universal Postal Union, however, and its stamps are recognized as valid for mailings to all parts of the world. The Vatican Post has a reputation for being substantially more efficient than that of Italy, and consequently Vatican stamps receive a large volume of normal, commercial usage. Obviously there are no airports within the territory of the Vatican City State, but the Vatican Post does have several contracts with various air carriers to cover the shipment of its mail.