Talking Coins: Umbertos 1882 Twenty Lira Gold Coin

January 26, 2015

By Tony Hine

CEMA Member & Coin Expert

At a dinner party recently, I spotted a gold coin ring which captured my eye.

It was worn by none other than CEMA president Ben Viccari. We were at a BBQ at the home of yet another CEMA member and its webmaster, Zuhair Kashmeri and his wife Carlotta Cattani.

The face of the ring was a coat of arms with an L on the left and the numeral 20 on the right. As a coin-collector, I was fascinated, so I did some research on Google and learned that Umberto was born on March 14, 1844, in Torino and was king from January 9, 1878, until July 29, 1900, in Monza, the city made famous for its auto racetrack and its Ferraris.

Wikipedia tells me his full name was Umberto Rainerio Carlo Emanuele Giovanni Maria Ferdinando Eugenio, Principe del Piemonte. The Casa Savoia family became the kings of Italy in 1860.

The head (obverse) of the twenty lira coin shows a mustachioed King Umberto encircled by the legend UMBERTO I P. F. DITALIA with 1882 beneath the bust. The uncrowned sweptback hair would make a Ferrari driver of today proud.

On eBay, I spotted an uncirculated, encapsulated Umberto I 1882 20 lira coin. But isnt the coin ring a lot more fun than anything encapsulated?

What do you think? Post a reply and let us know…

Tony Hine, a well-known former financial analyst and investment banker from Bay Street, specializes in old coins and writes for the Canadian Coin News — the leading coin publication in Canada. Any questions about coins?— e-mail Tony Hine at [email protected]