Papal lira

The Papal lira was the currency of the Papal States between 1866 and 1870.

Papal lira
lira pontificia (Italian)
Coinsc.1, s.½,
s.1, s.2, s.4, s.5, s.10
₤1, ₤2, ₤2½, ₤5
Rarely used₤10, ₤20, ₤50, ₤100
Official user(s) Papal States
Unofficial user(s) France
MintRome Mint
Pegged byFrench franc
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.


In 1866 Pope Pius IX, whose temporal domain had been reduced to only the province of Latium, decided to join the Latin Monetary Union. A new currency, the lira, was introduced with the same value of the French franc and the Italian lira. It replaced the scudo at a rate of 5.375 lire = 1 scudo : the rate was calculated thanks to the silver value of the old scudo (26.9 grams of silver, with 9/10 of purity) and the new lira (5 grams of silver, with 9/10 of purity).[1] However, the Pope's treasurer, Giacomo Antonelli, devalued the purity of the Papal coins from 900/1000 to 835/1000, causing big problems for the Union, which later was forced to adopt the new standard. With the annexation of Rome to Italy in 1870, the Papal lira was replaced by the Italian lira at par.

The lira was subdivided into 100 cents (Italian: centesimo) and, differently from the other currencies of the union, into 20 shillings (Italian: soldo). However, all denomination in shillings had an equivalence in cents.


Copper coins were issued in denominations of 1 cent, ½, (=2.5 cents), 1 (=5 cents), 2 (=10 cents) and 4 (= 20 cents) shillings, with silver 5 (=25 cents) and 10 (=50 cents) shillings, 1, 2, 2½ and 5 lire, and gold 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 lire.

See also


  1. (in Italian)
  • Krause, Chester L.; Clifford Mishler (1991). Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1801–1991 (18th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0873411501.
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