When the lira left the scene, on the night of January 1, 2002, it already had 140 years of history behind it. She was born, in fact, on August 24, 1862, when it officially became the state currency by decree of Vittorio Emanuele II. The decree dismissed all the other coins – and there were hundreds – that were circulating in the Kingdom of Italy at the time. Arriving a year after political unity, it was a formidable engine for the construction and development not only economic but also social of the whole of Italy. It was Napoleon who had the first metal “Italian lira” minted, the one that has come down to our days and that of the decimal system introduced by Vittorio Emanuele II. Of course, there were difficult moments. On the eve of the First World War, for example, to preserve the metal, cash vouchers with the effigy of Vittorio Emanuele III were issued. As a result of the sanctions, the metallic currency was even withdrawn.the AM-lira , and in 1944 a new state note was issued. The rest is recent history, where inflation also ‘peeps’ due to which, in 1959, the minting of the 1 and 2 lire coins was suspended.
A year later, in 1960, the first international recognition for the lira took place, admitted to the International Monetary Fund . In 1978 I joined the EMS, initially inserted in a special 6% oscillation band. But it will last until 1990, when the ‘fork’ was narrowed to 2.25%. It was the antechamber of the difficult years, which culminated in September 1992 with the exit from the European monetary system. An exile that lasted 4 years: on 25 November 1996 the lira returned to the EMSand three years later, in 1999, the Italian currency joined the Euro. Even the name itself, ‘lira’, had a difficult path, but managed to resist the various attempts to change it throughout history: someone tried with the “Italian marengo” and with the “shield”. The Doges of Venice, for example, passed from the lirazza to the lirona up to the liretta. “Among the many adventures it is already a lot that the lira has kept the name it bears”, said one day Guido Carli, Governor of the Bank of Italy. From history to the present: today having some kept in the drawer can be worth a fortune. The 1947 1 lira coin adorned with ears, if perfectly preserved, or in Fior di Conio, can reach up to 1500 euros. That of 2 lire of 1947 even at 1,800 euros.they have a value ranging from 20 to 150 euros. The 100 lire from 1957 to 1961 have a value that can range from a minimum of 600 euros to a maximum of about 3000, while the coins from 1962 to 1963 can be worth from 100 to 200 euros.
By Classical Numismatic Group, Inc./Wikipedia
100 lire coin
The lira, its banknotes bring to mind fragments of history and life. Moments in the history of Italy marked by the lira. There are those who buy tickets for America , or those for trains to go and seek their fortune in the north. With the lira came the first televisions, the first records, the first car.Initials of that world, which for those born from 2000 onwards and practically unknown, there was the song ” If I could have a thousand lire a month”
The symbol of an achievable and not exaggerated dream, behind which the dreams of Italy after the war and the economic boom. The Italy that saved and invested in the “home”. The brick, the most precious asset together with savings and investment in Treasury bills ! Our old woman has always been a champion of devaluations, but in 1960 the Financial Times honored her with the title of “most stable currency of the year”. At the time, a dollar was bought for 620 lire, in 1985 it needed 2,200
A long preparatory process, lasting about 40 years, led to the introduction of the single currency in 2002. After a decade of preparations, the Euro was introduced on 1 January 1999: during the first three years, however, it was “invisible”, in what is used only for accounting purposes and for electronic payments. The coins and banknotes entered into circulation on January 1, 2002 in 12 countries of the European Union.
The name “Euro” was chosen by the Madrid European Council in 1995. The euro symbol (€) is inspired by the Greek letter epsilon (Є) and also represents the first letter of the word “Europe”, while the two parallel bars they mean established. The ISO code of the euro and EUR, used to refer to amounts in Euros without using the symbol.
The European Central Bank and the European Commission are responsible for maintaining its value and stability and for establishing the criteria required by EU countries to enter the euro area. The single currency has a particularity: it is the tangible sign of European unity, the first big step towards the creation of a Union, that of the founding fathers. But the difficulties, the obstacles were many from the beginning.
For the first introduction of the Euro in January 2002, 7 banknotes and 8 coins were conceived.The banknotes share the same design in all countries. The coins have a common side, while the design of the other side is specific to each country of issue. The new banknotes of the Europa series are being introduced and will enter circulation over the next few years. Under the responsibility of the ECB and national central banks, they feature enhanced security features and a new design, bearing a portrait of the mythological figure of Europa.
Despite the twenty years spent in some countriesit is still possible to exchange old national banknotes and coins with the single European currency. In Italy, the limit expired in 2012. In Austria, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the possibility of exchanging the national currency at a central bank is unlimited. In Luxembourg, Slovenia and Slovakia it is only for banknotes. In Spain, the deadline expired on 31 December 2020. The Euroand also used as an official or de facto currency and as an “anchor currency” by a number of regions geographically outside the European Union: Azores and Madeira (Portugal), Canary Islands (Spain), Ceuta and Melilla (Spain), Guyana French, French Caribbean islands, Mayotte and Réunion (France), Saint Pierre and Miquelon (France). The Euro is also the currency of some non-EU countries: Andorra, Kosovo, Montenegro, Principality of Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City.
Infographics special euro, The euro in overseas countries
What has changed in twenty years: the curiosities The house
In the years of the lira, the Italians “dedicated” their savings to the brick. In 1970, buying a house cost a couple seven years’ wages. Years that became eight if the couple in question lived in Milan, and nine if they lived in Rome.
Today to buy a small house with full salaries he has to put in about ninety if the house is an “average” Italian house, about 120 salaries if the house is in Milan and more than 140 if the house is in Rome.
The brick has grown steadily and in any case parallel to the increase of all the other goods, but the wages have not done the same, which grew between the 70s and all 90s and since then almost at the stake.
At the same time, the euro allows us to have low interest rates, which favor investments, modest inflation, which protects incomes and savings, and a direct comparability between prices in different EU countries, which stimulates competition. It saves us 3% of GDP which otherwise would go to the financial system when you have to switch from one currency to another or when you buy insurance against exchange rate risk. In the event of speculative attacks, all the resources of the European economies are there to stop them.
The coffee
If we exclude the immediate post-war period when coffee was a luxury (it took 11% of the average salary to drink two a day), the cost of the cup at the bar remained surprisingly stable, compared to the purchasing power of families, in almost 70 years of history. The price methodically increased by 10 lire every 5 years from 1945 to 1970. The incidence of the cost of a coffee a day has almost always remained close to 1.7 / 1.9% of the average salary. Only in the years before and after the turn of the millennium had it risen towards 3%, but at that point the prices calmed down and the ‘wall’ of the euro, at least for now, is also holding on to the competition from home-made coffee pods. Euro / dollar the challenge
The history of the euro-dollar exchange began in 1999 and not in 2002, the year in which the euro was introduced into the pockets of European citizens. Having an idea of ​​how this exchange has evolved over the last 23 years also makes us understand the weight of the European currency worldwide. The all-time low was reached at $ 0.83 in 2001, while the all-time high was reached in 2008, in full financial crisis with the epicenter in the United States, at $ 1.60.
The US dollar has been the world’s reserve currency for 50 years. The Bretton Woods agreements (1944) required each country to accept the exchange of its currency for dollars, and that the dollar was the only compulsory currency for international, bilateral or multilateral (e.g. a stock exchange), commercial ( purchase of raw materials and / or finished products) and financial.
The financial crisis of the “sub prime”, the collapse of the big American banks and the economic and political globalization of the last 20 years led, on November 30, 2015, the International Monetary Fund to include, in the basket of international reserve currencies, the following currencies: the US dollar, the euro, the yen, the pound sterling and the Chinese yuan.
Even the giant China is attracted to the euro, so much so that, in the last month of this 2021, bonds in euros were issued for a total value of 4 billion. The placement follows that in dollars. There are three maturities for Chinese bonds in euros: 3, 7 and 12 years. According to some sources, the yields have been set respectively at +20, +40 and +65 basis points with respect to the “midswap” rates (interbank exchange rate). The euro issue is the third in three years and is in fact becoming an annual event.

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