A Hard Year, A Great Year
No, I'm not talking about this year which I can only call another strange year, but rather, the year 1860. In trying to broaden my Silver Dollars of '60 custom set, I researched the silver dollar-like coins issued from European nations in 1860 and I believe there are only two. By this time, thalers had shrunk to 33mm and 18.52g so they no longer fit my definition of silver dollar size! Having already acquired a nice 20 reales of Spain (38mm, 26.291g), I was stuck with finding the 5 lire of the Kingdom of Sardinia (37mm, 25g), a coin with a mintage of only 5,044. That is one hard year!
But, why such a small mintage? In 1859 the Kingdom of Sardinia, also known as Piedmont-Sardinia had launched an effort to reunify the Italian states and successfully concluded several military campaigns with their French ally against Austria. In 1860 the Kingdom proceeded to gain support from other Northern Italian States through plebiscite and achieved decisive military victories against the papal army and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Warfare is expensive so my guess is that silver stocks were depleted leading to the low mintage of coins for general circulation.
The political and military successes of 1860 led to the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy with the King of Sardinia, Vittorio Emanuele II, it's first ruler of a united Italy since the 6th century. Clearly, for those that benefited from a unified Italy, 1860 was a great year.
I finally tracked down an example of the silver dollar-like coin from the Kingdom of Sardinia, dated 1860. This coin was minted in the principle city of Piedmont, Turin, as denoted by the eagle head mintmark. Turin was the capital of the Kingdom of Italy until 1865.
Create an account or sign in to comment
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Create an account
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!Register a new account
Already have an account? Sign in here.Sign In Now