Italy 1879-R 5 lire

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UBS sale 83, lot 1757
Sincona sale 4, lot 4934
The first specimen was lot 1757 in UBS sale 83 (Zurich, September 2009) where it sold for CHF 1000 ($1150 including buyer's fee). The catalog description noted,
"Umberto I. 1878-1900. 5 Lire 1879, Roma. Kl. Kr. Vorzüglich-gutes vorzüglich," (5 lire 1879, Rome mint, extremely fine-good extremely fine).
The second specimen was lot 4934 in Sincona sale 4 (Zurich, October 2011), where it sold for ___ CHF (about US$___ including buyer's fees). The catalog description[1] noted,
"ITALIEN Regno d'Italia Umberto I. 1878-1900. 5 Lire 1879, Roma. Sehr schön-vorzüglich. (Kingdom of Italy, Umberto I (1878-1900) five lira of 1879, Rome mint. Very fine to extremely fine.)"

This type was struck at the Rome mint 1878-79 during the reign of Umberto I of Italy. It is struck to the same standard as the contemporary French five francs. It is quite scarce despite the massive mintage. The denomination was terminated in 1879 when its legal tender provision was revoked in the Latin Monetary Union. Several countries, including Italy, were striking large numbers of silver crowns (worth about three francs in bullion) and redeeming them in France for five francs in gold.

Recorded mintage: 4,000,000.

Specification: 25 g, .900 fine silver, .723 troy oz ASW; both specimens 24,95 g.

Catalog reference: Pag. 590. Dav-141, KM 20.


  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2012.
  • [1]Numismatic Coins, Medals & Banknotes: Auction 4, Zurich: SINCONA AG, 2011.

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