Vatican lira

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Vatican lira
lira vaticana (Italian)
VAL
500 Lire
ISO 4217
CodeITL
Unit
Plurallire
SymbolNone official, see Italian lira
Denominations
Subunit
1100centesimo
Subunits were abolished after WWII
Plural
centesimocentesimi (c.)
BanknotesItalian lira banknotes
Coins
 Freq. used50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000 Lire
 Rarely used1 Lira, 2, 5, 10, 20 Lire
Demographics
User(s)None, previously:
 Vatican City
 Italy
 San Marino
Issuance
Central bankBanca d'Italia
 Websitewww.bancaditalia.it
Valuation
EU Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM)
Since13 March 1979, 25 November 1996[a]
Withdrawn16 September 1992 (Black Wednesday)
Fixed rate since31 December 1998
Replaced by euro, non cash1 January 1999
Replaced by euro, cash1 January 2002
1 € =1,936.27 Lire
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.
  1. ^ Indirectly (1:1 peg to ITL).

The lira (plural lire; abbreviation: VAL) was the currency of the Vatican City between 1929 and 2002. It was not a separate currency but an issue of the Italian lira; the Banca d'Italia produced coins specifically for Vatican City.

History[edit]

The Papal States, by the late 1860s, was reduced to a small area close to Rome, used its own lira between 1866 and 1870 as a member of the Latin Monetary Union. Upon the conclusion of the Risorgimento, the state, and its currency, ceased to exist. In 1929, the Lateran Treaty established the State of the Vatican City and, according to the terms of the treaty, a distinct coinage was introduced, denominated in centesimi and lire, on par with the Italian lira. Italian coins and banknotes were legal tender in the Vatican City. The Vatican coins were minted in Rome and were also legal tender in Italy and San Marino.

In 2002, the Vatican City switched to the euro at an exchange rate of 1 euro = 1,936.27 Lire. It has its own set of euro coins.

Coins[edit]

The development of Vatican coins largely mirrored the development of the Italian lire coins.

In 1929, copper c.5 and c.10, nickel c.20 and c.50, 1 Lira and 2 Lire, silver 5 Lire and 10 Lire, and gold 100 Lire coins were introduced. In 1936, the gold content of 100 Lire coins was decreased from 0.2546 to 0.1502 troy ounces (from 7.92 to 4.67 grams).[1] In 1939, aluminium bronze replaced copper and, in 1940, stainless steel replaced nickel. Between 1941 and 1943, production of the various denominations was reduced to only a few thousand per year.

In 1947, a new coinage was introduced consisting of aluminium 1 Lira, 2 Lire, 5 Lire and 10 Lire. The sizes of these coins were reduced in 1951. In 1955, stainless steel 50 Lire and 100 Lire were introduced, followed by aluminium-bronze 20 Lire in 1957 and silver 500 Lire in 1958. The 1 Lira and 2 Lire ceased production in 1977, followed by the 5 Lire in 1978. Aluminium-bronze 200 Lire were introduced in 1978, followed by bi-metallic 500 Lire and 1,000 Lire in 1985 and 1997, respectively. The 50 Lire and 100 Lire were reduced in size in 1992.

Beginning in 1967, the Vatican began issuing coins using Roman numerals for the year of issue, as opposed to the more common Arabic numerals.

Vatican lire coins were discontinued after the advent of the euro.

Vatican City has frequently issued its coins in yearly changing commemorative series, featuring a wide variety of themes. While most of these were sold in the form of uncirculated mint sets, a portion of Vatican coins were released into general circulation.

Officially "unissued" coins of 1938[edit]

There was no official release of coins this year, and they do not appear in the Mint of Rome's records. However, a very small number of copper coins have appeared on the market.

There are two versions explaining the origin of these coins. The first version suggests that by the time of Pope Pius XI's death on February 10, 1939, Vatican City had only minted coins of 1937, although dies for the 1938 100 lire gold, 10 centesimo copper, and 5 centesimo copper had already been made. From each of these prepared dies, one example in the normal metal was struck for the King of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele III of Savoy.[2]

The second version suggests that the minted quantity of copper coins for 1938 was destroyed due to the Pope's death, but several copies were purposefully conserved for the King of Italy's collection.[3] This version is more likely, as the machines of that era required multiple cycles and the loading of numerous planchets in order to manufacture coins.

Both versions imply that the coins were conserved or minted for the King of Italy, who was an enthusiastic coin collector. The king collected coins for 60 years and kept them in Forte Antenna, a Roman refuge. During World War II, in anticipation of the offensive of the Allied Expeditionary Forces led by Dwight D. Eisenhower, the boxes of coins were transported at the sovereign's will to Pollenzo, a safer royal residence in Piedmont. However, in September 1943, the proclamation of the Italian Social Republic caused the royal government to lose control over the assets in the North, resulting in a long period of movement and thefts of the collection. Wehrmacht troops decided to move the collection to Germany. The crates were transported to Munich on German trucks. Mussolini was worried about the news of the "theft" of the coins and requested their return from Adolf Hitler himself. The collection was returned to Italy in early January 1944, but many boxes were opened, damaged, and some almost empty.[4] The Italian Police Headquarters officially announced that German soldiers carried out the break-in. It is possible that soldiers used the coins stolen from the collection to buy alcohol or ice cream, which resulted in the coins being circulated.

Until recently, only seven coins of 10 centesimi Vatican City in 1938 have been graded and certified, and most show signs of circulation. And now, almost 85 years later, a coin was received at the PCGS office in Los Angeles, which achieved a grade of MS65BN ( a coin that never has been in circulation and has an attractive luster) .

This coin is a rare and valuable piece of numismatic history.

Circulating coins from Pius XI to Pius XII papacies (1929–1958)[edit]

Image Value Technical Parameters Description
Obverse Reverse Diameter Mass Composition Obverse Reverse Years of Issue Papacy
1931 Vatican City 5 Centesimi.png
1931 Vatican City 5 Centesimi.png
5 Centesimi 20mm 3.25 grams 95% Copper Crowned Shield Olive Branch 1929–1937 Pius XI
2.95 grams Bronzital 1939–1941 Pius XII
2.95 grams Bust of Pius XII Dove 1942–1946
1931 Vatican City 10 Centesimi.png
1931 Vatican City 10 Centesimi.png
10 Centesimi 22mm 5.4 grams 95% Copper Crowned Shield Bust of St. Peter 1929–1937 Pius XI
4.9 grams Bronzital 1939–1941 Pius XII
4.9 grams Bust of Pius XII Dove 1942–1946
1931 Vatican City 20 Centesimi.png
1931 Vatican City 20 Centesimi.png
20 Centesimi 21mm 4.1 grams Nickel Crowned Arms Bust of St. Paul 1929–1937 Pius XI
20 Centesimi - Città del Vaticano - 1940.png
20 Centesimi - Città del Vaticano - 1940.png
1939–1941 Pius XII
4 grams Acmonital Crowned Shield Justice with law tabets 1942–1946
50 Centesimi 24mm 6 grams Nickel Crowned Arms Saint Michael 1929–1937 Pius XI
1939–1941 Pius XII
6 grams Stainless Steel Crowned Shield Justice with law tabets 1942–1946
1 Lira 27mm 8.1 grams Nickel Crowned Arms St. Mary standing atop globe 1929–1937 Pius XI
26.65mm 7.86 grams Acmonital Crowned Arms 1940–1941 Pius XII
Justice with law tabets 1942–1946
1.25 grams Italma 1947–1949
Holy Door 1950
1953 Vatican City 1 lira.png
1953 Vatican City 1 lira.png
17mm 0.6200 grams Temperance standing pouring libation in bowl 1951–1956
2 Lire 29mm 10 grams Nickel Crowned Arms Lamb on shepard's shoulders 1929–1937 Pius XI
1939 Pius XII
10.2 grams Stainless Steel Crowned Arms Lamb on shepard's shoulders 1940–1941
Crowned Shield Justice with law tabets 1942–1946
24mm 1.75 grams Aluminum 1947–1949
Pius XII bust Dove and St. Peter's Basilica Dome 1950
18mm Crowned Shield Fortitude standing with lion at feet 1951–1958
5 Lire 23mm 5 grams 0.8350 Silver Bust of Pius XI St. Peter in a boat 1929–1937 Pius XI
Arms of Cardinal Eugenio Dove within half sun 1939 Sede Vacante
Vatican_City_1939_5_lire.png
Vatican_City_1939_5_lire.png
Bust of Pius XII St. Peter in a boat 1939–1941 Pius XII
Caritas figure with children 1942–1946
26.5mm 2.5 grams Aluminum Bust of Pius XII 1947–1949
Pope with staff within Holy Door 1950
20mm 1 gram Justice standing with sword and scales 1951–1958
10 Lire 27mm 10 grams 0.8350 Silver Bust of Pius XI St. Mary holding infant 1929–1937 Pius XI
Arms of Cardinal Eugenio Dove within half sun 1939 Sede Vacante
Bust of Pius XII St. Mary holding infant 1939–1941 Pius XII
Caritas figure with children 1942–1946
29mm 3 grams Aluminum 1947–1949
1950 Vatican City 10 lire.png
1950 Vatican City 10 lire.png
Pope with staff within Holy Door 1950
1951 Vatican City 10 lire.png
1951 Vatican City 10 lire.png
23mm 1 gram Prudence standing 1951–1958
20 Lire 21.25mm 3.600 grams Aluminum-Bronze Caritas figure with children 1957
21.25mm 5.600 grams 1958
50 Lire 24.8mm 6.200 grams Stainless Steel Spes standing with large anchor 1955–1958
1931 Pius XI.jpg
1931 Pius XI.jpg
100 Lire 23.5mm 8.8 grams 0.9000 Gold Bust of Pius XI Jesus with child at feet 1929–1935 Pius XI
20.5mm 5.19 grams 1936–1938
Bust of Pius XII 1939–1941 Pius XII
1948 100 Lire Vatikan.jpg
1948 100 Lire Vatikan.jpg
Caritas figure with children 1942–1949
Crowned Pius XII Opening of Holy Door 1950
Bust of Pius XII Caritas figure with children 1951–1956
Crowned Shield 1957–1958
27.75mm 8.000 grams Stainless Steel Fides with large cross 1955–1958
500 Lire 29mm 11.000 grams 0.8350 Silver Crowned Shield 1958

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cuhaj, George S. (December 2009). 2010 Standard Catalog of World Coins (37 ed.). Krause Publications. p. 2181. ISBN 978-0896898141.
  2. ^ "Copyright", Lakes of New York State, Elsevier, pp. iv, 1978, retrieved 2023-07-25
  3. ^ "10 centesimi Città del Vaticano - Pio XI | Numismatica Europea". www.numismaticaeuropea.it. Retrieved 2023-07-25.
  4. ^ "Bollettino di Numismatica OnLine - Studi e Ricerche". www.bdnonline.numismaticadellostato.it. Retrieved 2023-07-25.