1868, Vatican, Pope Pius IX. Beautiful Gold 20 Lire Coin.
Mint Place: Rome ®
Denomination: 20 Lire
Mint Year: 1868 (Year XXIII)
Reference: Friedberg 280, KM-1382
Material: Gold (.900)
Reverse: Bust of Pope Pius IX left, wearing zucchetto, mozetta, and stole. Legend: PIVS . IX . PON – M . A . XXIII § * §
Obverse: Denomination (20 LIRE) and date (1868) within wreath. Mint inital ® of Rome below.
Blessed Pope Pius IX (May 13, 1792 – February 7, 1878), born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, was Pope from June 16, 1846 until his death. His was the longest reign in Church history, lasting 32 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council in 1869, which decreed Papal infallibility. The Pope defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, meaning that Mary was conceived without original sin and that she lived a life completely free of sin.
The election of the liberal Pius IX created much enthusiasm in Europe and elsewhere. Celebrations and ovations were offered in several countries. Although he was not really known and had done nothing on an administrative level before his election, and although there were no utterances from him, he was soon the most notorious and popular person in the world. English Protestants celebrated him as a friend of light and a reformer of Europe towards freedom and progress. It was noted that he was elected without political influences from outside, in the best years of his life, pious, progressive, intellectual, decent, friendly, open to everybody.
Pius IX celebrated his silver jubilee in 1871, going on to have the longest reign in the history of the post-apostolic papacy, 31 years, 7 months and 23 days. As he lost temporal sovereignty, the Roman Catholic Church rallied around him, the papacy became more centralized, to which his impecccable personal life-style of simplicity and poverty is considered to have contributed. From this point on, the papacy became and continues to become more and more a spiritual, and less a temporal, authority. Pius IX’s pontificate marks the beginning of the modern papacy.
After starting out as a liberal, Pius IX turned conservative after being thrown out of Rome. Thereafter, he was considered politically conservative, but a restless and radical reformer and innovator of Church life and structures. Church life, religious vocations, new foundations and religious enthousiasm all florished at the end of his pontificate. Politically, his pontificate ended with the isolation of the papacy from most major powers of the world: “The prisoner of the Vatican” had poor relations with Russia, Germany, and the United States, poor relations with France and open hostility with Italy. Yet he was most popular with the faithful in all these countries, in many of which Pope Pius associations were formed in his support. He made lasting Church history with his 1854 infallible decision of the Immaculate Conception, which was the basis for the later dogma on the Assumption. His other lasting contribution is the invocation of the ecumenical council Vatican One, which promulgated the definition of Papal infallibility.
The Prophecy of the Popes, attributed to Saint Malachy, is a list of 112 short phrases in Latin. They purport to describe each of the Roman Catholic popes. It describes Pius IX as Crux de Cruce, Cross of the cross.