1914 Italian 2-lire

Europa (ohne Euros) und Afrika - ab etwa 1500.
villa66
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1914 Italian 2-lire

Beitrag von villa66 » Mo 12.03.12 00:29

A 1914 Italian 2-lire piece of the “Lively Quadriga” type, coined to the LMU standard of 10 grams of silver, .835 fine. A wonderful coin. And metallic shorthand, I think, for the Europe that was then on the brink of the smash-up that would be World War One: bright silver and so rich, beautiful and so accomplished, sophisticated and–seemingly–so strong, tough, and permanent.

But if that was the Europe of 1914 when this design was introduced, it was just three years later, in 1917, that these silver coins were being withdrawn and replaced with paper notes. Old Europe had disappeared into the mud and the artillery smoke, or else fallen into the grave.

v.
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Re: 1914 Italian 2-lire

Beitrag von KarlAntonMartini » Mo 12.03.12 09:36

villa66 hat geschrieben: But if that was the Europe of 1914 when this design was introduced, it was just three years later, in 1917, that these silver coins were being withdrawn and replaced with paper notes. Old Europe had disappeared into the mud and the artillery smoke, or else fallen into the grave.

v.
This design - pretty as it is - showed the decay of European politics in the early 1900s, it copied old roman symbols of power and neglected modern development in art, industry and society. So nobody cared about preserving the old pre-war system in August 1914. But nobody expected a war being so devastating and cruel.
Tokens forever!

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Re: 1914 Italian 2-lire

Beitrag von sigistenz » Mo 12.03.12 18:37

The fiercely rising horses will make tumble back the carelessly posing guy in the very next moment. Inevitably.
The coin forespelt the immediate future :!:
Sigi

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Re: 1914 Italian 2-lire

Beitrag von villa66 » Mi 14.03.12 05:54

KarlAntonMartini hat geschrieben:This design - pretty as it is - showed the decay of European politics in the early 1900s, it copied old roman symbols of power and neglected modern development in art, industry and society....
I really appreciate the comment, and the chance to think about this some. There may not be a voice on the forum whose experienced tone I admire more than your own, KAM., but I will respectfully disagree with your comment (at least that narrow part quoted above), and at least with respect to this particular coin.

With German minor coinage of those days, I think your remark is dead on—I see Jugendstil bursting out the seams of the new 25-pfennig of 1909, see its isolation in the German series, and can almost feel in my bones how tightly clamped down is the lid. (The boiler is full lit and someone has tied off the escape valve.) And while I can get a similar sense from British coinage of those days, I don’t get that from the French pieces that were their contemporaries.

But of course here we’re talking Italian coins, and most particular the “Lively Quadrigas” of 1914.

First I would note that the design was a conscious (and much superior) rework of the “Fast Quadrigas” of 1908-13, so the authorities were in “response” mode rather than in static repose. Second is the King VEIII as numismatist aspect and his willingness to forgo the usual Savoy eagles, etc. Seems to me like a double step forward into modernity, for a monarchy at least.

But to the particular point of the explicitly Roman devices...throwbacks to be sure, but in the relatively new Italian state of those days, aren’t the Roman references more a call to a united future—having shared a united past—than they are a mere recalling of some once glorious but now sadly-faded epoch?
For me, invoking the Romans was a conscious call to a more intense nationalism—a quite modern impulse at the time. And now that I think on it, the Roman revivals seem to indicate a sort of genius at divining what was abroad in the Italian body politic at the time—and what sort of dynamic would most successfully inform that same public mind during the coming quarter of a century. That is, an appeal to things Roman wasn’t some uncomprehending reflex, or some stale reliance on empty form. Oh no...

In my mind anyway, the call to things Roman made so explicitly in the “Quadrigas” of 1908-17 is perfectly in touch with its times, and an accurate foreshadowing of the increasingly “Roman” years to come. Witness the very next 2-lire type, of 1923, much less ornate, much less fussy—but in its brutal plainness—much more powerfully Roman than even its 1914 predecessor.

:) v.
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