Ah, this is an interesting one…
italy, 50 lire, 1965 (KM #95.1)
The Italian lira dates back to the Risorgimento in 1861 and survived until the euro advent in 2002. However, since Word War II, the centesimo subunit had been obsolete, and large value lire became coins. I maintain the theory that when the 10-unit coin becomes useless, it’s time to revalue. Italy probably used the euro’s introduction as a convenient reset button on the inflation that plagued their currency since the late 1940s.
“The Nude Blacksmith” was minted continuously between 1954 and 1989, when the coin was shrunk down to the size of a US dime. The mintage in 1965 was 25.3 million, lower than the mintage spikes in the 1950s and late 1970s, but not rare for the type either. 1958 remains the key date for large-type 50-lire coins. The other cool thing about this coin is the material. This is a handsome coin made out of stainless steel. It has a nice color to it, it is durable and resistant to scratches and circulation wear (I have several half-century-old coins from Italy that hardly look their age after years in use), and doesn’t corrode or tarnish. With enough chromium in the stainless steel alloy, it can also be non-magnetic. I have thought for years that stainless steel would be a great substitute metal for our coins, especially the nickel whose copper and nickel value has been over 5 cents for a few years now. Stainless steel would be an attractive and durable alternative metal which is cheap and would mingle well with existing copper-nickel 5cent coins.
Metal Stainless Steel
Weight 6.2500 g
Diameter 24.8 mm
Thickness 1.95 mm
Orientation Coin alignment