(sold for $28.0)


1871, Kingdom of Italy, Victor Emmanuel II. Large Silver 5 Lire Coin. VF+

Mint Year: 1871 Reference: KM-8.3. Denomination: 5 Lire Mint Place: Milan (M) Condition: Numerous tiny bag-marks and a few scratches, otherwise VF+ Material: Silver (.900) Weight: 24.80gm Diameter: 37mm

Obverse: Bust of Victor Emanuel II right. Legend: VITTORIO EMANUELLE II - 1871

Reverse: Crowned shield with italian arms surmounted by order chain, all within wreath. Legend: REGNO D'ITALIA - M - L.5 - BN


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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