Papal States 1870-R 50 lire

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Heritage sale 3037, lot 31220
Papal St H3037-31220r.jpg

This specimen was lot 31220 in Heritage sale 3037 (New York, January 2015), where it sold for $15,275. The catalog description[1] noted, "Papal States. Pius IX 50 Lire 1870-R Anno XXIV MS65 NGC, Rome mint. A truly remarkable specimen that presents full bloom over extremely attractive, harvest-gold surfaces. Due to an incisive strike, the design elements are wholly raised and crisp--from the detail on the Pope's skull cap to the delicate veins of the reverse leaves. This particular example, the last of an ephemeral two-year series, claims a modest mintage of just 1,460 pieces; so, it seems to follow that a coin of this elite quality from such a limited type would carry a substantial premium. At present time, this offering is the finest-known certified example of this date, and the second-highest graded coin in the series. As such, this selection is worthy of much attention, as well as a superior bid. From The Alexander Collection." This rare and expensive type was struck 1868 and 1870 to the standard of a French fifty francs. The pope was enjoying his last days as an independent potentate; when French troops left in 1870, Italian troops marched in and forcibly unified Rome with the rest of the kingdom of Italy.

Recorded mintage: 1,460.

Specification: 16.12 g, .900 fine gold, .466 troy oz AGW.

Catalog reference: KM 1388, Fr-279, Ber-3331.


  • Berman, Allen G., Papal Coins, South Salem, NY: Attic Books, 1991.
  • Gigante, Fabio, Gigante 2016: Catalogo Nazionale delle Monete Italiano Dal '700 All'Euro, 24a ed. Varese, Italy, 2015.
  • Montenegro, Eupremio, Montenegro 2015: Manuale del Collezionista di Monete Italiane, 30 ed., Torino, Italy: Montenegro s.a.s., 2014.
  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2012.
  • Friedberg, Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg, Gold Coins of the World, From Ancient Times to the Present, 7th ed., Clifton, NJ: Coin and Currency Institute, 2003.
  • [1]Bierrenbach, Cristiano, Warren Tucker and Scott Cordry, Heritage Signature Auction 3037, featuring the Empire, the Santa Catarina, the Law and the Santa Maria Collections, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2014.

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