1902 Encyclopedia > Italy > Currency

(Part 27)



Italy is a member of the Latin monetary league founded in 1865. By this the coining of pieces worth 2 lire or less was limited to 6 lire per inhabitant, so that the amount of such coins permissible before the incorporation of Venice was 141,000,000, and after that date 156,000,000. By the convention of 1875 the coining of silver coins of 5 lire was limited to 50,000,000, and this amount was reduced to 30,000,000 by the convention of 1876. The actual value coined from 1862 to 1875 has been:—gold, 236,167,200 lire; silver— 5 lire pieces, 281,637,025, and pieces of minor value (1 lire, 21ire, 20 centesimi, and 50 centesimi), all coined between 1862 and 1868 inclusive, 156,000,000 ; bronze, 76,190,442 lire. By the conventions of 1878 and 1879 it was agreed that the minor silver coinage of Italy should not be received in the public exchequer of the other states of the league until an end was put to the forced paper currency ; and France, Belgium, Greece, and Switzerland have undertaken to withdraw it from circulation in their respective territories, and to collect it at Paris, the Italian Government agreeing to exchange it for gold or silver scudi.

== TABLE ==

The Italian Government has been put to much expense in the matter of the unification of the coinage, and the process of withdrawing the coins of the separate ex-Governments is still going on. Table LI. indicates the value in lire of the coins withdrawn from circulation between 1862 and 1871.

From 1872 to 1879 the value of the gold withdrawn was 6,080,295 lire, and that of the silver 143,130,871 ; of the total (149,211,166 lire) the greater proportion (129,898,338) belonged to the Two Sicilies and 16,815,207 to Borne. In 1866 the Government felt itself constrained to establish a forced paper currency ; the proposals made from time to time for its abrogation remained mere proposals till 1881. The parliament of that year, however, passed an Act (7th April), on the basis of a bill presented by the ministers Magliani and .Miceli, of which the chief features are as follows : —The forced currency is to be brought to an end by the close of 1883,-644,000,000 lire of metallic money (400,000,000 of the amount in gold being obtained by a foreign loan) ; of these, 44,000,000 lire to be given to the National Bank as repayment of the loan in gold made to the state in 1875, which, according to the contract, was to be repaid three months before the cessation of the forced currency ; the remaining 600,000,000 to be employed in withdrawing from circulation that amount of the "consortial" or union notes, of which 940,000,000 lire are in circulation,—the 340,000,000 to become regular Government notes payable at sight in the principal Government treasuries ; all the small notes of 50 centesimi, 1, 2, and 5 lire, the circulation of which in September 1879 amounted to 315,500,000 lire, to be got rid of, as well as 284,000,000 in notes of 1000, 250, and 100 lire,—so that the 340,000,000 lire in regular notes left in existence should all be of the value of 10 and 20 lire, with the exception of 46,500,000 in larger amounts. The consortium of the banks came to a close on the 30th June 1881, and the "consortial" notes actually current are formed into a direct national debt.

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