Italian 20 Lira
(Victor Emanuele II and Umberto I)
Grade range: Uncirculated/Brilliant Uncirculated
Minted: Victor Emanuele II - 1861 - 1874
Umberto I - 1880 - 1897
Actual Gold Content: .1867 troy ounce
Victor Emanuele's place in history is inextricably connected to that of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Italian revolutionary leader with whom he collaborated to unite Italy under a single kingdom in the mid-19th century. Prior to that, Italy was a loose confederation of states. Known among the Italian people as 'the honest king,' Victor Emmanuel became the symbol and central figure of the 'Risorgimento,' and spent the rest of his monarchy consolidating the new kingdom.
Umberto I, also known as Humbert I, was King of Italy from 1878 until his death in 1900. He was son to Victor Emmanuel II, who united Italy under a single kingdom during the 'Risorgimento' movement of the 19th century. Umberto I was the only modern King of Italy to die by assassination, killed by the Italo-American anarchist Gaetano Bresci. In history, Umberto I was referred to as "The Good" although he was wildly unpopular throughout his rule with left-wing circles. His assassination was said to be retribution for his praise of General Fiorenzo Bava-Beccaris' restoration of order during an uprising in the city of Milan. In this uprising, Bava-Beccaris used a cannon against demonstrators protesting the rising cost of bread. Two assassination attempts on Umberto I immediately followed, with the third attempt ultimately claiming the King's life in 1900.
The Italian 20 Lira coinage under Emanuele and Umberto was relatively short-lived and the mintages small when compared to other items in its genre. These items are generally available in uncirculated condition and are essential to any collection of 19th and 20th century gold coins. Despite the small mintage, the pricing is favorable.