Vatican coins

Catalogue of the Vatican City coins, with history, images, and characteristics of the lira and euro.

Pius XI
Pius XII
Coins of Pius XI Coins of Pius XII Coins of John XXIII
Paul VI
John Paul I
John Paul II
Coins of Paul VI Coins of John Paul I Coins of John Paul II
Benedict XVI
Coins of Benedict XVI coins of Francis Vatican Euro Coins


The coinage of coins from the Vatican is strictly related to the temporal power of the Popes, started with the Papal States from 754 to 1870, and followed by the State of the Vatican City up to now. The properties of the Vatican came from the endowments given to the Church from the 4th century in Rome mainly, called the Patrimony of St. Peter at the beginning and transformed in the duchy of Rome in the following, with an increasingly independence from the Eastern emperors.

The formal constitution of the Papal States took place in 754 when Pepin the Short gave to Pope Stephen II the exarchate of Ravenna and the Pentapolis. This event was connected to the alliance between Pope Stephen II and Pepin, who was recognized as rightful king of the Franks and gave to the Pope assistance against the Lombards. In 774, Charlemagne confirmed the donation of Pepin the Short and to stronger the temporal power of the Popes, the so-called Donation of Constantine to Pope Sylvester I was forged.

The popes' temporal power was greatly limited in the following centuries by the power of the emperors and the noblemen, with a resulting very bad condition of the population. From 1309 to 1417 Avignon became the seat of the popes, with the Papal States in a chaotic condition up to the 16th century, when the States got its maximum extension with the campaigns of Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI, and Pope Julius II.

After the Counter Reformation the political power of the papacy waned and the Papal troops offered almost no resistance to the French invasion of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1796. The Congress of Vienna fully restored the states of the papacy in 1815 and placed them under Austrian protection. Conspiracies and revolutions characterized the following decades up to the Risorgimento in 1860, when the French intervention prevented the inclusion of Rome in the new Kingdom of Italy. The fall of Napoleon III permitted to Victor Emmanuel II to seize Rome in 1870. However, Pius IX refused to recognize the new Italian State. The so-called Roman Question was only resolved in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty, which established State of the Vatican City.

With the Lateran Treaty, the Mint of Rome was authorized to mint the new Vatican coins. In 2001, even if the Vatican City is a state which do not belong to the Economic and Monetary Union, it has been granted the right to mint their own euro coins, as for the Republic of San Marino, by virtue of their long-standing monetary agreements with the Italian government.

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vatican coins