In early November I caught a post on reddit about the "Flying Nude" 20C Italian coins that were made until about 1924, that are more accurately called "Liberty in Flight." Also apparently called “Liberta Librata” (“Hovering Freedom”) according to Numista.
The original post was joking about the fact that the type 1 SLQ wasn't the only "scandalous" coin from the era / “The US didn’t have a monopoly on ‘scandalous’ designs.’ I find this a little funny as a claim when you actually look at the coin. I also think it’s more than a little funny that early 20th century Europeans / Italians were probably a lot less prudish about artistic nudity than early 20th century Americans or 21st century Americans. Seriously – it's a tiny-non-detailed boob on a coin smaller than a US nickel.
In either case, the design makes it clear that "Liberty" is wrapped in a cloth and a line above the bust makes it clear that the intent of the design is that she's covered - unlike the Type 1 SLQ – so the “nude” description probably isn’t even accurate. The whole "blowing in the wind" look just makes it a very form-revealing look. Anyway... I digress! It happens sometimes when you’re a pedantic nerd with, among other things, an A.A. in Visual Art.
I had never seen one of these before, and, when I realized it was Italian, I showed it to Shandy, and she thought it was pretty. I pretty much immediately wanted to get one or two to look at in-person together.
She did like it. It is a gorgeous coin design in my opinion and hers.
I ended up securing a pretty nice looking 1910 and 1913 for $4-5 each, and a 1918 & 1919 20 C that had a different design and a 1922 1 Lire - another very beautiful design that reminds me of the old, seated liberty coinage.
All in I spent about $30 on the 5 coins - the 1 lira was by far the most expensive at about $13, but I had a hard time finding a cheaper one that didn't look harshly cleaned, and the one I got looked very nice. All and all a fun and cheap way to add some new variety to the raw collection for a country my wife has such affinity for.
While I was shopping those, I also found some French coins from 1918 that looked cool and I spent about $10 snapping these up alongside the Italian coins, thinking they would make interesting companion pieces for that 1913 Gold 20F coin I have.
While a lot gets made about the expense of this hobby and how expensive it can be to duke it out in the Registries, collecting 20th century modern coins raw can still be very fun and inexpensive. You can get coins from 110 years ago for $4 - or less. I think I could have “done better” shopping at coin shows but, with gas getting close to $3 a gallon in Houston, there’s something to be said about not having to drive 30-50 miles to a coin show and pay at the door to get in and hope the dealers brought what you’re hoping to buy.
All in I think I spent about $300 getting hundreds of Zimbabwean coins slowly over a span of about 6 months and I've gotten a lot of fun and joy out of looking through them, alone and with Shandy, to find material for grading for that set. And I'm going to like having a lot of Raw ones in addition to the final graded set when this is all said and done. It wasn't originally my plan to have quite as many as I now do... but... I'll take it!
I had been tempted to go a ‘little’ nuts and get a bunch of these “Flying Liberty” coins in a variety of dates, but I managed to dial myself back. I always have a problem with my eyes getting big and going off on wild tangents and having “scope-explosion” problems.
In some respects that fact that these are cheap – cheap enough to be seen as minor impulse buys – becomes its own problem when you are a collector and you think things are neat and you just want everything. Small purchases can add up quickly – it's like the coin version of getting coffee at Starbucks every morning (and lemon cake... yummy, delicious, lemon cake... where was I? ).
Of course, part of the REAL reason I dialed myself back - on this - was so I could “go nuts” in another area. More on that in a few days – I do try to keep these entries smaller and digestible and space them out as to not be overwhelming.
As some of you may gather as I post my next couple of entries, I haven’t had the best success at making myself stick to my normal budget in the last couple of months (October and November) and Shandy hasn’t tried too hard to stop me – once or twice even encouraging me as with the Kookaburra. But, she knows everything I do, and I ask permission and not forgiveness… which is probably why my head is still attached to my neck.
As part of looking at these ‘new’ (100+ year old) French and Italian coins and looking at all the raw Zimbabwean coins I also grabbed out and had another look through the binder with most of my raw world coins, including a lot of modern Italian coins, British coins, French coins, Greek coins, Indian coins, Argentinian coins, and German coins, some from her family's travels, some from my family's travels and some from our travels together. And there are some of these that I just really enjoy looking at.