Where can I go for information on modern pre-Euro Vatican Coin Designs?

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by JeffC, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member

    Over the Holidays, I was given about 20 Vatican City coins (all pre-Euro). They are common 1980's coins that came in souvenir packs probably sold in the gift shop. Nevertheless, many of the designs on the reverse sides stoked my curiosity. I tried searching online but couldn't get the information I sought. All I could get was generic specifications regarding weight, dimensions, mintage numbers, metal composition, etc. But what I was after are the stories behind the designs. For example, who is the person sitting on the throne? What is the significance of the hands reaching through the gates? What does the lady and infant represent? There are quite a number of others (one with a boy holding a lamb across his shoulder) that I didn't show. Is there a Vatican Coin site that discusses the designs themselves? Appreciate your input if you know. Thanks all.

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  3. Paddy54

    Paddy54 Variety Collector

    Numista Google it...;)
  4. alurid

    alurid Well-Known Member

  5. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member

    Thanks Paddy54. In fact, that was one of the first places I checked. (I should have mentioned it.) Regrettably, it only listed the basic specifications and did not have details about the designs' significance.
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  6. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member

  7. alurid

    alurid Well-Known Member

    I would think that info is out there somewhere. Good luck.
    JeffC likes this.
  8. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member

    Maybe the stories behind the images are quite "obvious and easy" but because I never went to Sunday School...
  9. alurid

    alurid Well-Known Member

    I went to Sunday school, but a different branch of the service.:bookworm:
  10. Steve66

    Steve66 Coin People

  11. Maxfli

    Maxfli Well-Known Member

    You might find some information here:

    Vatican Coins

    Also, try doing a google search for each individual coin (e.g.: "vatican 20 lire 1981") and see what that turns up.
    JeffC likes this.
  12. chrisild

    chrisild Coin Collector

    Problem is, most sites that "cover" Vatican coins do not have detailed descriptions of what is depicted on the coins. The catalog that I have (Schön) is usually pretty good about providing such information, but in the lira years the Vatican had new designs and "thematic sets" almost every year ...

    The coin in the upper left corner could depict the Lazarus scene, and the one below says "Fortitudo", so I suppose this is an allegoric representation of fortitude. The two on the left actually have (very short) descriptions in the Schön; the upper one is about taking care of prisoners ("Christianity and solidarity" set), the lower one about maternity ("family values" set).

  13. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member

  14. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member

    Thanks and sorry for the late reply. I've exhausted google search and wikipedia. I can find (as @chrisild stated) lots of specs - but nothing about the "stories" behind them.
  15. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member

    Firstly, I apologize for the late reply and acknowledgement. Thank you very, very much for your help. I agree - it's so hard to find information (of the thematic kind) on Vatican coins. I'll try to reach out to their mint department directly. I have quite a number of coins with many interesting designs and I'd simply like to find out more about each one. Thanks also for our brief write-up. They certainly make sense. I also have a 50-centesemi coin that has 2 dates: 1933 and 1934. I'm definitely interested as to why there are two dates on that one coin.
  16. chrisild

    chrisild Coin Collector

    Because that was an "Extraordinary Holy Year" which began in April 1933 and ended in April 1934.
    "There have been two extraordinary jubilees in this [the 20th] century: 1933 proclaimed by Pope Pius XI to mark the 1900th anniversary of Redemption and 1983 proclaimed by Pope John Paul II to mark 1950 years since the Redemption carried out by Christ through his Death and Resurrection in the year 33." (Source)

  17. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member

    @chrisild, I think I was absent when the professor taught "Research Skills 101". LOL. In addition to Wiki or Google, I also checked the Vatican site and others as well, entering "1933, 1934, Vatican" as key words/numbers. I was able to find out that 1933 was the Jubilee but I didn't see the connection to 1934. Thank you once again for the enlightenment, your expertise, and the source link.
    chrisild likes this.
  18. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    I would strongly suspect that these Vatican coins relate basic Bible stories, or encourage good Catholics to perform good deeds (acts of service or kindness). They also may relay images of saints, or virtues.

    For example, the armored individual has "Fortitudo" written underneath - extolling the virtue of courage.

    The hands reaching through the gates are almost certainly encouraging taking care of prisoners (visiting them or feeding them, etc). This is a reference to Matthew 25:31-40.

    The seated lady with the child is extolling the virtues of motherhood (and is probably a reference to a version of the Madonna and Child).

    Not entirely sure what the top left one is, but the halo implies that this is a saint (or maybe a pilgrim). The open door and welcoming gesture indicates that this is encouraging hospitality. It may be a reference to a specific saint, or it may be more general, although saints are usually depicted with identifying symbols.

    Krause does have descriptions of some of these coins, and might at least give you enough words to search for more information.

    If you're stumped after checking Krause, you might consider visiting a priest and have him explain some of the images - iconography is historically extremely important to the Catholic church. You see the same types of images used for hundreds or thousands of years, and someone involved in the church should be able to identify many of them.
    JeffC likes this.
  19. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member

    Thanks @physics-fan3.14. I appreciate your input. Consulting a member of the clergy is a great idea! I might just do that this spring.
  20. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member

    By the way, ever since adopting the Euro, Vatican coins have been a bit less interesting (IMO). That's because there's no more "room" for any varied and creative designs. The reverse must feature the common Euro denomination design and the obverse must show the bust of the current Pope. So that leaves no more room for any new designs.
  21. chrisild

    chrisild Coin Collector

    Not quite right. Of course you may find the current designs boring ;) but we already have five different designs for the Vatican euro circulation coins: Pope John Paul II, Vacant See 2005 (which strictly speaking violated the monetary agreement), Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis I, and now the personal seal of Francis. The Vatican also issues commemorative €2 coins (initially one per year, now two) with occasion specific designs. On top of that you have all the silver and gold collector coins. "No room"? Oh well ...

    JeffC likes this.
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