My numismatic adventure №12 - Italy 1940

in life •  2 years ago

WW II coins:

The coin itself

Italy 1940 (KM# 77a) 1 LIRA - Stainless Steel (8.1gr) ; mintage - 25,997,000 ; My valuation – 2EUR
Obverse: IMG_7849.jpg Reverse: IMG_7850.jpg

(you may click on the coins to enlarge the image)

A bit of history

Big imperial ambitions led Italy to fight on the axis side during the war. When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Mussolini chose to stay non-belligerent.

The Italian industrial sector was relatively weak compared to other European major powers. Lack of a strong automotive industry made it difficult for Italy to mechanize its military. Italy had a predominantly agricultural-based economy with problems such as high illiteracy, poverty, rapid population growth and a high proportion of adolescents. In terms of strategic materials, in 1940, Italy produced hundreds times less than other European countries.

In 1940 Mussolini approved a draft contract with the Royal Air Force to provide 400 light aircraft; yet the alliance with Germany made them scrap the deal.

In spring Italian coal was one of the most discussed issues in diplomatic circles. The allied countries began strengthening their Fleet, in order to enforce a blockade.

In the summer Italy entered the war and invaded France. They also entered Greece and started their African and the Mediterranean campaigns.

My thoughts

Interesting to see that the regime in Italy was set many years prior to the war. Internal and foreign politics were set to show that other Italians suffered in other countries, like in France.

Many argue that Italy was almost forced to sign the pact of steel (alliance with Germany), although I do remember very well from my college years, that Mussolini absolutely despised Hitler for the kind of man he was (nonathletic, physically weak, short and skinny). Also the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact left Italy angry.

We can see that the country was in a very bad state from not only an economic perspective, but a social one. High illiteracy, high poverty levels outside big cities, and so on… Could that have led to such a regime?

Ironic how such economically devastated country could have afforded to mint such expensive coin, using steel and making them heavy. They were also widely minted (although 1940 was the highest amount).

The market is flooded with those coins and even those of excellent condition aren’t worth much. In fact only rare specimens (with certain changes) are worth anything in comparison to others from that time.

Fiat in production – Italy, 1940


All photos of coins are from my own collection

Historical source 1 ;

Image source

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