Vatican lira


The Italian lira (plural lire) was the currency of the Vatican City between 1929 and 2002.

Vatican lira
lira vaticana (in Italian)
500 lire
ISO 4217
CodeVAL
Denominations
Subunit
1/100centesimo
Subunits were abolished after WWII
Plurallire
centesimocentesimi
Symbol₤, £ or L
Coins
Freq. used50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 lire
Rarely used5, 10, 20 centesimi 10, 20, 10000, 50000, 100000 lire
Demographics
User(s)None, previously:
  Vatican City
 Italy
 San Marino
Valuation
ERM
Since13 March 1979, 25 November 1996 1
Withdrawn16 September 1992 (Black Wednesday)
Fixed rate since31 December 1998
Replaced by €, non cash1 January 1999
Replaced by €, cash1 January 2002
=1936.27 lire
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.
1 Indirectly (1:1 peg to ITL)

History


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 with 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 = 1936.27 lira. It has its own set of euro coins.

Coins


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

In 1929, copper 5 and 10 centesimi, nickel 20 and 50 centesimi, 1 and 2 lire, silver 5 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.[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, 2, 5 and 10 lire. The sizes of these coins were reduced in 1951. In 1955, stainless steel 50 and 100 lire were introduced, followed by aluminium bronze 20 lire in 1957 and silver 500 lire in 1958. The 1 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 and 1000 lire in 1985 and 1997, respectively. The 50 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 with 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.

Circulating coins from Pius XI to Pius XII papacies (1929-1958)

Image Value Technical Parameters Description
Obverse Reverse Diameter Mass Composition Obverse Reverse Years of Issue Papacy
5 Centesimi 20mm 3.25 grams 95% Copper Crowned Shield Olive Branch 1929-1938 Pius XI
2.95 grams Bronzital 1939-1941 Pius XII
2.95 grams Bust of Pius XII Dove 1942-1946
10 Centesimi 22mm 5.4 grams 95% Copper Crowned Shield Bust of St. Peter 1929-1938 Pius XI
4.9 grams Bronzital 1939-1941 Pius XII
4.9 grams Bust of Pius XII Dove 1942-1946
20 Centesimi 21mm 4.1 grams Nickel Crowned Arms Bust of St. Paul 1929-1937 Pius XI
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 Lire 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
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
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
Pope with staff within Holy Door 1950
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
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
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


References


  • Krause, Chester L.; Clifford Mishler (1991). Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1801–1991 (18th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0873411501.
  • Jencius, Peter (December 2019). Vatican City Coins: 1929-1978. Jencius Coins Krause Publications. ISBN 9781734277708.


  1. Cuhaj, George S. (December 2009). 2010 Standard Catalog of World Coins (37 ed.). Krause Publications. p. 2181. ISBN 0896898148.