The Italian Lire is a popular European coin that is pretty attractive among collectors, and investors. Considering that these coins were usually minted from precious metals such as silver and gold it is logical that many people want to invest in them.
For quite some time Lire was a very common coin in Italy until it was replaced by the Euro in 2002. Even before it was replaced this coin was attractive among collectors due to its content and design, but it gained even more value after it lost its legal tender status.
In this article, we will talk about the 100 lire coin value, how to recognize it, and where to find it.
History Of The Italian Lira: How Much Is it Worth Today?
Lira was the currency of Italy from 1861 until 2002 when it was replaced by the Euro coins, the official currency of the European Union. This coin was first introduced by the Napoleon Kingdom of Italy in 1807 at par with the French franc, but only in 1861 did all Italian Kingdoms accept it as their currency.
The first lira coins that were introduced by the Napoleon Kingdom of Italy were made from silver.
Throughout history, the weight, size, and material that was used for production vary greatly. For instance, during the Middle Ages, lira coins weren’t minted at all, only used as a currency. Only when Italy was united under the rule of the Kingdom of Sardinia, the lira was embraced as the monetary unit of the entire country
Lira has divided into 20 soldi decimal systems until 1862. After that, it was redefined to be equal to 100 centesimi, which means cents or hundreds. As we mentioned, the first lira coins were minted from silver, however, this coin was minted from gold as well.
Italian gold Lire coins are available in different denominations from 20 Lire through to 100 Lire which is great for all European coin enthusiasts and collectors. The one that we will discuss in this article has an impressive mass of 32.26 grams of .900 fine Gold. Talking about an excellent choice for the higher capitalized Gold investors.
Like most European countries, Italy as well has a rich history, and some of the sovereigns that are featured on the gold Lire coins contribute to the value in historical terms. For instance, Vittorio Emanuele II became the first king of an independent Italy in 1849, this didn’t happen since the 6th century considering Italy was occupied.
Later, Vittorio Emanuele II’s son, Umberto I of Italy, who is as well featured on some of the Gold Lire, was assassinated in 1900 whilst holding tenure of the Italian throne, which presents one of the most historic moments in Italy. The interesting fact is that Umberto famously sold off his father’s racehorse collection when he took the throne to pay off excessive debts accumulated by his father.
Many of the Gold Italian Lire features an image of the coat of arms of the House of Savoy, a white cross displayed on a red background. If you know anything about Italian culture, then you sure know that red is considered a lucky color in Italy. Some other Gold Lire designs feature an olive branch as a symbol of Italy’s desire for peace and unity.
Most Valuable 100 Lire Coin (Table Chart)
How To Estimate The Value And Recognize Fake From Real Golden Coin?
To accurately estimate the value of your gold coin, first, it must be authenticated and graded, by some reputable grading company such as NGC, PCGS, ICG, or ANACS. When we talk about rare and valuable coins such as these getting the necessary certificate is a must. Without it, unfortunately, many numismatics will take your coin for granted since coins like these are often counterfeited.
Skilled scammers use high-tech equipment to reproduce valuable rare coins. They are so precise in making replicas that sometimes even the well-experienced numismatics can’t tell the difference. These coins are sold at the same high prices as the real ones.
Keep in mind that you can never be too careful when buying expensive collector coins, especially from dealers you never worked with before. However, in case you got 100 Gold Lira coins as a family heritage and know it is old, it is probably a genuine piece. Also, remember that there are some legal reproductions of Italian 100 Gold Lire coins that have the word COPY imprinted on them.
How to tell if the gold coin is real?
Gold has been valuable and highly sought-after precious metal for as long as it’s in use. This is the main reason why it has always been a target of counterfeiting. For decades collectible items made from gold and silver are replicated, especially coins since numismatic is one of the most profitable hobbies.
However, to avoid the risk of investing money in something that is not real, it is always the best decision to buy valuable coins from reputable dealers. Even though most counterfeit silver and gold collectible item is jewelry, coins are not far behind them. You are at risk every time when buying from private sellers.
However, if you know how to tell if gold is real you can save yourself a lot of nerves and money. Luckily, there are a few easy tests you can do to tell if your gold is real.
Test the size and weight
Checking the size and weight of your coins to see if they are according to the specifications, is the easiest way to test the authenticity of your coin. When we talk about gold, you need to know that gold is one of the densest metals on the planet.
This means it is pretty hard to replicate its physical properties. That leads us to the conclusion that no matter how good the replica looks like it will always be lighter. Also, a fake gold coin must be wider and thicker than a real one to match the weight. So knowing the specified weight, diameter, and thickness of the coin you are interested in will allow you to easily identify a fake one.
Another incredibly easy test is to use a magnet. As you probably know gold is not magnetic and a real gold coin will not stick to a magnet. So, if you suspect that the coin you are interested in isn’t real just try to pick it up with a magnet. If you are able to pick it up you’ll know that something isn’t right.
Testing by sound
This test is also known as the ‘ping’ test. It allows you to tell if a coin is made from real or fake gold by listening to the sound it produces when it’s struck. All precious metals make a long, high-pitched ringing sound when struck.
All you need to do is take your coin and try tapping it with another coin. If it is real it should make a ringing sound. Believe us the difference in sound between a coin made from pure gold and one made from a non-precious metal is easily recognizable.
Try the ceramic test
This is a very easy test, however, it is not always easily accessible. For this test, you’ll need a coin and a ceramic plate. Simply drag your gold over an unglazed ceramic plate, and apply light pressure. If the trace is a gold mark on the ceramic then the gold is real, if the mark is black it is fake.
Nitric Acid test – only for those that are experienced
Since you risk doing permanent damage to your coin by doing this test we do not recommend you to do it on your own. The point is that the gold is resistant to oxidation and corrosion, so if your coin is made from pure gold it will not be affected by the acid.
There are different strengths of acid you can use. If gold doesn’t react to the acid that means that it is at least as pure as the carat rating suggested, and sometimes even higher.
Where Should You Look For 100 Lire Coins?
Since old European coins aren’t minted in such large quantities as the US coins, for instance, you can be sure it is pretty hard to find them. You won’t be able to come across them in the pocket change while you are traveling across Europe. However, one thing you can do is search for them on the Internet.
But that does not mean looking anywhere on the Internet. What we mean is to search for them at reliable sources such as auction houses and certified coin web pages such as:
On the other hand, when you are selling your coin we recommend you check websites like Live Auctioneers, eBay, and Etsy to get information about the current demand among collectors, as well as the price range.
Like always, we do not recommend buying coins on these platforms, especially not those made from precious metals such as Lire coins. As previously mentioned, valuable coins like these ones are often a target of counterfeiting. The replicas are in most cases so realistic that even well-experienced numismatics can’t recognize them at first glance.
When did Lira lose its legal tender status?
On 28 February 2002, Italy officially adopted the Euro as its new formula currency. To be more accurate a dual circulation period (during which people could use both the Italian lira and the euro) ended on 28 February 2002.
The National Central Bank of Italy exchanged Italian lira banknotes and coins until 29 February 2012.
Who else uses Lire as currency?
You should also be aware that there are other countries that used or still use Lire coins as currency. Countries like Turkey, Northern Cyprus, Syria, and Lebanon still, use Lire coins. On the other hand, Italy, Malta, and Israel formerly used this currency.
Old European Coins Are The New “IT” Thing Among Coin Collectors
Many European countries joined the European Union. During that process, they were obliged to replace their old currencies with Euros. Naturally, this is the news that many coin collectors embraced gladly.
A lot of European coins were made from precious metals, with low mintage, and as well feature an incredibly beautiful design which makes them attractive collectible items. However, losing the legal tender status makes them even more valuable and rare. Don’t forget that old and discontinued banknotes are also valuable collectible items as well. If you are interested in collecting old Italian coins you are in the right place, at the right time!
Hopefully, this article answered some of the questions and helped you figure out how to handle your precious coins. In case you know some information that we didn’t mention here, please do not hesitate to share your opinions and advice in the comment section below.