World of Coins

Modern European coins except the euro => Italy, Malta, Cyprus and modern Greece => Topic started by: gpimper on March 06, 2019, 04:27:31 AM

Title: Lira
Post by: gpimper on March 06, 2019, 04:27:31 AM
Blast from the past :-)  Spent much time in Italy in the early '90s.  Part of our "bag of world coins."
Title: Re: Lira
Post by: Figleaf on March 12, 2019, 10:55:50 PM
Blast from the past indeed. Maybe.

In those days, Italian governments were crippled by corruption and criminality. This came from the political right (Mafia) as well as the political left (Brigate Rosse), both at the zenith of their power. The Christian-Democrats were targets of both, one ex PM was even murdered by the Brigate Rosse, while the Mafia killed honest policeman, judges and legal officials. The result of this situation was massive mismanagement, as funds for improvements were diverted to criminals. The alternative to the Christian Democrats, the Communists were less targeted and infiltrated. They ruled a good number of small communities more efficiently than the Christian Democrats.

One aspect - not even very important - of the mismanagement was the coinage. In spite of rapid inflation, denominations were not adjusted. Massive numbers of 10 lire coins were needed to satisfy demand, while the Rome mint was underfunded and overstaffed. Small denominations became scarce, were hoarded and no longer circulated, being replaced by shrugs, candy and tokens.

The crooks had overplayed their hand. The Italian people were disgusted and judges struggled to get back. The Brigate Rosse were hunted down and incarcerated. By the 1990s, the mani pulite (clean hands) movement was restoring order. It took almost two decades to get back to normal and that opened the way for Italy to join the euro.

In those two decades, small improvements to the coinage happened one by one and your coin was one of them. In general, the old coins remained valid, but disappeared from circulation as new coins in the same denomination took over or, as your coin, were newly introduced. The new coins were smaller, made of better metals and produced in sufficient quantity. In that way, your coin shows Italy's transition from kleptocracy to democracy.

Title: Re: Lira
Post by: gpimper on April 07, 2019, 02:06:13 AM
You are a fountain of information and I do appreciate!