Eva writes: I am wondering about the value and/or significance of a coin I was asked to research for my boss. We aren’t sure what it might be worth, if anything, and I have not been able to find a single mention on the Internet. It seems to be a (silver?) 5 Lire piece from Italy with a picture of Vittorio Emanuele III facing right, with his name followed by ‘Re d’Italia’ (meaning Regno d’Italia?) and the tiny inscription ‘D. Calandra’ on the lower left. On the opposite side (upside down when Vittorio is held right side up) is a figure that looks like a Centurion with a shield, holding up some branches, standing on a dais of some sort with four horses pulling it. On the dais can be seen the word or acronym ‘FERT,’ which is repeated a few times on the edges of the coin. It is dated 1914 and marked ‘D. Calandra’ on that side, too. We’re a rare book business, not a rare coin business, so we’re asking the experts. 🙂
You have a 1914 Italy 5 Lira (.900 fine silver, .7234 asw). It shows King Vittorio Emmanule III of Italy facing right. On the reverse is a “quadriga”, or four horse chariot, a reference to the “renaissance of the Roman Empire” that Mussolini would eventually use to further his policies. Below to the left is the date “1914” and in exergue is L5 or five lira. “D. Calandra” is the name of the designer.
The coin is a one year issue and quite rare and desirable because of its beautiful design. There are other 5 Liras, 10 Liras, 20 Liras, 50 Lira and 100 lira designs that are as beautiful and rare with similar “Roman” themes. Value range for a genuine 1914 5 Lira, depending on grade, is between $1,000 – $5,000. Note that deceptive counterfeits abound. Authentication is obviously important. You can send your coin to the American Numismatic Association for authentication, or to PCGS or NGC for authentication and grading. See their links on the CoinSite Links page.