Rare Gold 40-lira Coin Issued in 1848 Auctioned

12 Mar 2019  Tue

On 2nd March, Emporium Hamburg auctioned an 1848 gold 40-lira coin from Italy for €2,000 in Munich. The 12.9 grams gold coin is found in two denominations, 40-lira and 20-lira. These provisional coins were issued after an Uprising which triggered the first Italian War of Independence. The obverse side features a wreath, they year-date 1848, denomination 40 liras and name of issuing authority, all in Italian. The reverse side depicts Italia wearing a mural crown, a star above, embracing a spear with her right hand. An Italian inscription reads ITALIA LIBERA DIO LO VUOLE, meaning “God wants a free Italy”.

The First Italian War of Independence began with a historical event which is termed as “Five Days of Milan”. People from Milan started revolting on 18th March 1848 and within five days, Marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz and his Austrian soldiers were forced to leave the city. A provisional government of Lombardy and Venetia was established which started issuing coins.

Historians believe that the wealthy landowners were given more priority by the provisional government. They didn’t take help from other people who came to Milan for waging a war. The provisional government collaborated with Piedmont, but Austria managed to recapture several territories of Venetia. Peasants were allowed in Radetzky but they were asked to pay heavy taxes to fund the war. Venice was under Austrian forces for several months between 1848 and 1849. The short period of freedom ended on 22nd August 1849 when the Austrians recaptured the entire territory.

Image Courtesy: Emporium Hamburg

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