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From Turin to Venice: Banknotes from centuries gone by

Reading time: 1'41"

On our journey through the history of banknotes, we have already explored the French assignats here in the past. However, these old banknotes were not the exclusive privilege of this one country at that time and, just like the assignats, they also bear witness to the often turbulent history of their issuers.

Here come four banknotes from the Italian states issued in 1799 and 1848 respectively, thus prior to the unification of Italy and its modern banknotes.

From Turin to Venice: Banknotes from centuries gone by

Kingdom of Sardinia (1799)

These two banknotes were issued by the Kingdom of Sardinia during the reign of Charles Emmanuel IV of Savoy and originated in Turin.

They date from 1799, a turbulent year...

Defeated by Napoleon in 1796, the city of Turin was then occupied by the French.

It was not until June 1799 that the Austro-Russian troops reconquered the city and restored Charles-Emmanuel IV to his lost throne.

Banknote Italy

100 Lire, 1799, VG(8-10)

Banknote Italy

200 Lire, 1799, VF(20-25)

The face value of these banknotes is 100 lire (lire cento) and 200 lire (lire ducento) respectively.
These two paper banknotes are uniface and monochromatic.


From Turin to Venice: Banknotes from centuries gone by

Venetian Republic (1848)

These two 19th century banknotes were also issued in a very special year.

The Republic of Venice, traditionally known as La Serenissima, had ceased to exist in 1797 following the ratification of the Treaty of Campo Formio.

Napoleon also passed by there...

In 1848, the city of Venice rose up against the Austrians, and the Republic of San Marco (Repubblica di San Marco) was founded. It survived for just 17 months before finally being reconquered by Austria.


2 Lire, 1848, VF(20-25)


3 Lire, 1848, AU(50-53)

These two paper banknotes were therefore issued by the short-lived republic in 1848.
With a value of 2 and 3 Venetian lire, they are monochromatic and uniface.
The reverse features a red stamp featuring the coat of arms of the Republic of San Marco.


  • "Venice, from the Porch of Madonna della Salute" by Joseph Mallord William Turner (circa 1835) (The Met - Public Domain)



Selection published on 19/06/2024