(sold for $2.0)


1860, Sardinia, Victor Emanuel II.  Rare Silver 50 Centesimi (½ Lira) Coin. Fine!

Mint Year: 1860 Mint Place: Florence Condition: A well-circulated fine! Denomination: 50 Centesimi (½ Lira) Reference: Cr 84, Montenuovo 120, KM-11. Rare! aterial: Silver (.900) Diameter: 18mm Weight: 2.32gm

Obverse: Head of Victor Emanuel II as King of Sardinia right. Legend: VITTORIO EMANUELE RE ELETTO / G

Reverse:  Crowned shield with italian arms surmounted by order chain. Legend: CINQUANTA CENTESIMI . FIRENZE 1860 .

Kingdom of Sardinia, also known as Piedmont-Sardinia or Sardinia-Piedmont, was the name given to the possessions of the House of Savoy in 1720, when the island of Sardinia was awarded by the Treaty of London to Duke Victor Amadeus II of Savoy to compensate him for the loss of Sicily to Austria. Besides Sardinia, the kingdom included Savoy, Piedmont and Nice; Liguria, including Genoa, was added by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Officially, the nation's name became Kingdom of Sardinia, Cyprus, and Jerusalem, Duchy of Savoy and Montferrat, Principality of Piedmont. During most of the 18th and 19th centuries under the House of Savoy, the political and economical capital was Turin. In 1860 Nice and Savoy were ceded to France as a price paid for French support in the campaign to unify Italy. In 1861, it became a founding state of the new Kingdom of Italy, and ceased to exist after that date.


Victor Emmanuel II, King of  Italy (Italian: Vittorio Emanuele  II; March 14, 1820 – January 9,  1878) was the King of Piedmont, Savoy, and Sardinia from 1849 to 1861.  On February 18, 1861, he assumed the title King of  Italy to become the first king of a united Italy, a title  he held until his death in 1878.

Victor Emmanuel was born in Turin, the eldest son of  Charles Albert of Sardinia and Maria Theresa of Austria and Tuscany. His  father was King of Piedmont-Sardinia. He lived for some years of his  youth in Florence, and showed an early interest in politics, the  military, and sports.

He took part  in the First Italian War of Independence under his father, fighting in  the front line at the battles of Pastrengo, Santa Lucia, Goito and  Custoza.

He became King of  Piedmont-Sardinia in 1849 when his father had abdicated the throne after  a humiliating military defeat by the Austrians at Novara. Victor  Emmanuel was immediately able to obtain a rather favourable armistice at  Vignale by the Austrian commander, Radetzky. The treaty, however, was  not ratified by the Piedmontese chamber, and Victor Emmanuel retaliated  by firing Prime Minister Claudio Gabriele de Launay, replacing him with  Massimo D'Azeglio. After new elections, the peace with Austria was  accepted by the new Chamber of Deputies. In 1849 he also fiercely  suppressed the revolt in Genoa, defining the rebels as a "vile and  infected race of canailles".

In  1852, Victor Emmanuel II gave Count Camillo di Cavour the title of Prime  Minister. This turned out to be a wise choice because Cavour was a  political mastermind and was a major player in Italian unification in  his own right. Victor Emmanuel II soon became the symbol of the Italian  Risorgimento, the Italian unification movement. He was especially  popular in the Kingdom of Sardinia because of his respect for the new  constitution and his liberal reforms.

Following Victor Emmanuel's advice, Cavour joined  Britain and France in the Crimean War against Russia. Cavour was  cautious to go to war due to the power of Russia at the time and the  expense of doing so. Victor Emmanuel, however was convinced of the  rewards which would be gained from the alliance which would be created  between Britain and more importantly with France. After successfully  seeking British support and ingratiating himself with France and  Napoleon III at the Congress of Paris in 1856, following the end of the  war, Count Cavour arranged a secret meeting with the French emperor. In  1858, they met at Plombières-les-Bains (in the Lorraine), where they  agreed that if the French were to help Piedmont combat Austria, still  occupying the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia in northern Italy, France  would be awarded Nice and Savoy.

At the time Victor Emmanuel had become a universal  symbol of the Italian Risorgimento, the movement pushing towards the  unification of Italy.

The  Italo-French campaign against Austria in 1858 started successfully.  However, scared by the serious casualties for France, Napoleon III  secretly made a treaty with Franz Joseph of Austria at Villafranca  whereby Piedmont gained only Lombardy. France did receive the promised  Nice and Savoy, while Austria kept Venetia, a major setback for the  Piedmontese, also because the treaty had been prepared without their  knowledge. After several quarrels for the outcome of the war, Cavour  resigned, and the king had to find other advisors.

Later that same year, he sent his forces to fight the  papal army at Castelfidardo and drove the Pope into Vatican City.  Victor Emmanuel II's success at these goals got him excommunicated from  the Catholic Church. Then, plebiscites in Naples and Sicily called for  union with Sardinia-Piedmont and Italy grew even larger. On February 18,  1861 the Kingdom of Italy was officially established and Victor  Emmanuel II became its king. Later, in 1866, Italy was given Venetia as  part of the peace settlement after the Seven Weeks War. Five years after  that (1871), the Papal States, protected by Napoleon III (an action  motivated by his need to please Catholics in France), fell to Italian  troops and Rome became the capital city.

Victor Emmanuel supported Giuseppe Garibaldi's  Expedition of Thousand (1860-1861), which resulted in the quick fall of  the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in southern Italy. However, the King  halted Garibaldi when he appeared ready to attack Rome, still under the  Papal States, as it was under French protection. In 1860, through local  plebiscites, Tuscany, Modena, Parma and Romagna decided to side with  Sardinia-Piedmont. Victor Emmanuel then marched victoriously in the  Marche and Umbria after the victorious battle of Castelfidardo (1860)  over the Papal forces, after which he gained a Papal  excommunication.

The King  subsequently met with Garibaldi at Teano, receiving from him the control  of southern Italy. Another series of plebiscites in the occupied lands  resulted in the proclamation of Victor Emmanuel as the first King of  Italy by the new Parliament of unified Italy, on March 17, 1861. Turin  became the capital of the new state. Only Rome, Veneto, Trentino and  Dalmatia remained to be conquered.

In 1866 Victor Emmanuel allied with Prussia in the  Third Italian War of Independence. Although not victorious in the  Italian theater, he managed anyway to receive Veneto after the Austrian  defeat in Germany.

In 1871, after  two failed attempts by Garibaldi, he also took advantage of the Prussian  victory over France in the Franco-Prussian War to capture Rome after  the French withdrew. He entered Rome on September 20, 1871, setting  there the new capital on July 2, 1871, (after the momentary move to  Florence in 1864). The new Royal residence was the Quirinal  Palace.

The rest of Victor  Emmanuel II's reign was much quieter. After the Kingdom of Italy was  established he decided to continue on as King Victor Emmanuel II instead  of Victor Emmanuel I of Italy. This was a terrible move as far as  public relations went as it was not indicative of the fresh start that  the Italian people wanted and suggested that Sardinia-Piedmont had taken  over the Italian Peninsula, rather than unifying it. Despite this  mishap, the remainder of Victor Emmanuel II's reign was consumed by  wrapping up loose ends and dealing with economical and cultural  issues.

Victor Emmanuel died in  Rome in 1878, just after the reversal of excommunication by Pope Pius  IX's envoys. He was buried in the Pantheon. His successor was his son  Umberto I.

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Notes: https://www.ebay.com/itm/154387930524 2021-04-01

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