Vatican City 1940 100 lire

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Goldberg sale 65, lot 4408
photo courtesy Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

This specimen was lot 4408 in Goldberg sale 65 (Los Angeles, September 2011), where it sold for $805. The catalog description[1] noted, "Italian States - Papal/Roman States. 100 Lire, 1940. Year II. Pius XII, 1939-1958. Bust right. Reverse: Standing christ. Mintage 2,000. NGC graded MS-65."

In 1860, the king of Sardinia succeeded unifying the Italian peninsula after centuries of fragmentation. The Papal States, protected by a French army, were not incorporated until 1870. The pope, denouncing the occupation of his domain, withdrew into the Vatican palace as a self-declared prisoner. Normal relations with the Italian government were not restored until Mussolini signed a concordat in 1929, granting the Pope sovereignty over Vatican City. Coinage began that year, struck at the Rome mint. Coins are issued for the Vatican City in symbolic amounts but as they are eagerly saved as souvenirs by tourists, they are not in short supply for collectors. This type, struck 1940 for Pius XII, is common as gold coins go. The lira was retired in 1999 when Italy joined the euro.

Recorded mintage: 2,000.

Specification: 5.19 g, .900 fine gold, .150 troy oz AGW, designed by Aurelio Mistruzzi.

Catalog reference: Fr-286; KM-Y30.1, Ber-3373.


  • 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.
  • [1]Goldberg, Ira, and Larry Goldberg, Goldberg sale 65: The Pre-Long Beach Auction, Ancient and World Coins," Los Angeles: Goldberg Coins and Collectibles, 2011.
  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1901-2000, 42nd ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2014.

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