Italian 20 Lira Gold Coins

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Italian 20 Lira Gold Coins are historical pieces from the dawn of the modern unified Italian kingdom and nation. They were struck to the same specifications and high standards of the legendary Swiss, Belgian, and French 20 Francs pieces. All of these 20 Lira Gold Coins contain nearly a full fifth of an ounce of gold at .1867 ounces. Such issues are a smart way to add world gold to your retirement, investment or coin collecting portfolios.

Italian 20 Lira Gold Coins Background and History

Italy is actually among the youngest of modern European nations, only having become a unified country in the late 1800s as with contemporary new nation Germany. Italian 20 Lira Gold Coins are an interesting world gold coin for their historical appeal as the heralds of this exciting, energetic, and young Italian kingdom and monarchy. Victor Emanuel's face may be the most familiar to observers of this coin series, but the first portrait to grace these pieces proved to be that of King Umberto I of all Italy. He served as the Duke of Savoy before he rose to the throne of the unified Kingdom of Italy in 1878. King Umberto reigned until he suffered assassination in the year 1900. His coins appeared throughout Italy and Europe beginning in 1879.

These coins were struck at several different Italian mints from the years 1862 to 1884. Before King Umberto I took the throne in 1878, coins in Italy were minted around the nation in Rome, Milan, Turin, and Genoa. In the reign of Umberto I, all of the coins were subsequently struck at only the unified Italian Mint in Rome. Some of the 1882 coins were struck in stunning red gold.

Italian 20 Lira Gold Coins Physical Characteristics

Coin Design

The obverse is the technical name for the front of coins. The Italian 20 Lira Gold Coins feature the portrait of the reigning monarch of the day on their obverse. King Umberto I's portrait included a mustache wearing version of the king. Surrounding his bust was his name, the phrase “RE D'ITALIA,” and the date of minting. The later minted designs of better known King Vittorio Emanuele III were similar, although the minting date was moved to the coins' reverse.

The back side of the coins is always called the “reverse” in numismatics. With earlier Italian 20 Lira Gold Coins, a wreath is seen encircling the national coat of arms. The later designs carried an Italian version of liberty surrounded by the words “REGNO D'ITALIA,” or Kingdom of Italy. The denomination of 20 liras is specified in the middle of the coin, as well as the date at the bottom.


Italian 20 Lira Gold Coins were closely modelled on the better known and wildly successful (especially) Swiss 20 Franc variants, as well as the French and Belgian 20 Franc gold pieces. They contain nearly a full fifth of an ounce of pure gold (.1867 ounces). Their specifications are as follows:

  • Mass: 6.4516 g
  • Diameter: 21.5 mm
  • Thickness: 1.3 mm
  • Content: 0.1867 troy oz
  • Purity: 90.0% gold

Italian 20 Lira Gold Coins Pricing

Italian 20 Lira Gold Coins always carried legal tender face value within the boundaries of the Kingdom of Italy. This face value endured legally all the way to the point where Italy abandoned its own longstanding currency the lira for the single currency of the common market, the euro. This means that they can no longer be spent for 20 lira in Italy. No one in their right mind would spend such valuable gems for 20 paltry lira in any case. Their intrinsic value from the gold they contain is worth over $200. These values come almost entirely from the spot price of gold, though their historical and collectable nature does play some part in the premiums they bear over the gold market pricing.

Reality is that the intrinsic value determines the true market prices of Italian 20 Lira Gold Coins. This market price is important in determining the value of the investment or retirement portfolios in which these coins are contained. The premium over spot gold is not high with these coins, despite their historical appeal. The premium is sufficiently accounted for by the not inconsiderable expenses the mint entailed in producing the coins and circulating them. Real market value of these pieces rises and falls in lockstep with gold prices every day the international gold markets are open. You can simply find out how much the real time price of gold is whenever the markets are trading simply by surfing over to our homepage.

Can IRA Accounts Contain Italian 20 Lira Gold Coins?

The Internal Revenue Service enjoys the sole monopoly for deciding on which world bullion precious metals coins may be a part of your IRA account for retirement savings. You have no say in the matter up to the point where they make their determination. These coins must meet high standards for both gold purity and low collectability. Besides this, the government will only allow you to open such a precious metals IRA account if you make a first purchase of at least $5,000 in sanctioned gold or silver bullion. Subsequent purchases you can make for only $1,000 in additional coins. Should you already possess a traditional form of IRA account, then you can simply roll this over to a self directed IRA retirement vehicle. After your bullion has been obtained by your IRA account administrator, a third party IRS approved depository will have to store and safeguard it on your behalf.

Italian 20 Lira Gold Coins do not possess the necessary minimum .995 high standard of gold purity which the IRS insists on in any coin it approves for IRAs. Instead, they only have a much lower .900 gold fineness. Even if they did possess the required gold purity level, the IRS would reject the coins for inclusion because of their collectable nature. Even though the premiums over spot are not so high, the coins are still heavily pursued by world coin collectors. This makes the final verdict that your retirement IRA account may not contain these interesting, historical, and appealing Italian 20 Lira Gold coins. They are still a prudent choice for other forms of retirement and investment accounts, as well as in coin collections of world gold coins. You can buy these 20 Lira Gold Coins from a fairly wide range of world coin and bullion dealers, not only in Europe, but also the U.S. and the rest of the world where they are available in limited supplies.

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FTC Disclosure: We are an independent blog that aims at providing useful information for retirement account owners interested in alternative assets like precious metals. However, our content does NOT constitute financial advice. Please speak to your financial advisor before making any investment decision. Also, the data quoted on this website represents past performance and does not guarantee future results.


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