Vatican lira

The lira (plural lire) was the currency of the Vatican City between 1929 and 2002.

Vatican lira
lira vaticana (in Italian)
500 lire
ISO 4217
Subunits were abolished after WWII
Symbol₤, £ or L
Freq. used50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 lire
Rarely used10, 20 lire
User(s)None, previously:
 San Marino,
  Vatican City
Since13 March 1979, 25 November 1996 1
Withdrawn16 September 1992 (Black Wednesday)
Fixed rate since31 December 1998
Replaced by €, non cash1 January 1999
Replaced by €, cash1 January 2002
=1936.27 lire
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.
1 Indirectly (1:1 peg to ITL)


The Papal States, by then reduced to a smaller area close to Rome, used its own lira between 1866 and 1870, after which it ceased to exist. In 1929, the Lateran Treaty established the State of the Vatican City and, according with the terms of the treaty, a distinct coinage was introduced, denominated in centesimi and lire, on par with the Italian lira. Italian coins and banknotes were legal tender in the Vatican City. The Vatican coins were minted in Rome and were also legal tender in Italy and San Marino.

In 2002, the Vatican City switched to the euro at an exchange rate of 1 euro = 1936.27 lira. It has its own set of euro coins.


The development of Vatican coins largely mirrored the development of the Italian lire coins.

In 1929, copper 5 and 10 centesimi, nickel 20 and 50 centesimi, 1 and 2 lire, and silver 5 and 10 lire coins were introduced. In 1939, aluminium bronze replaced copper and, in 1940, stainless steel replaced nickel. Between 1941 and 1943, production of the various denominations was reduced to only a few thousand per year.

In 1947, a new coinage was introduced consisting of aluminium 1, 2, 5 and 10 lire. The sizes of these coins were reduced in 1951. In 1955, stainless steel 50 and 100 lire were introduced, followed by aluminium bronze 20 lire in 1957 and silver 500 lire in 1958. The 1 and 2 lire ceased production in 1977, followed by the 5 lire in 1978. Aluminium-bronze 200 lire were introduced in 1978, followed by bi-metallic 500 and 1000 lire in 1985 and 1997, respectively. The 50 and 100 lire were reduced in size in 1992.

Beginning in 1967, the Vatican began issuing coins using Roman numerals for the year of issue, as opposed to the more common Arabic numerals.

Vatican lire coins were discontinued with the advent of the euro.

Vatican City has frequently issued its coins in yearly changing commemorative series, featuring a wide variety of themes. While most of these were sold in the form of uncirculated mint sets, a portion of Vatican coins were released into general circulation.

See also


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

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