Just in time for the World Money Fair, the Italian mint presented its 2023 Coin Collection. As usual, their coin programme is rather ambitious – in many other countries, this wealth of material would easily be enough for two years. What is pleasantly striking: Italy is proud of its high culture and dedicates numerous coins to its poets and thinkers, but contemporary culture is not neglected either. And in addition to coins of classic design, in 2023 there is once again a spotlight on colour elements as well as technical innovations.
Food and Wine
We already presented Italy’s coin series dedicated to the country’s cuisine in detail. In 2023, the journey goes on with two colour coins: Veneto and Lazio. The province in the north of Italy surrounding the tourist magnet of Venice celebrates its culinary delights with a glass of sparkling Prosecco and a plate of Spider Crabs. A gondola, the Lion of Bassano del Grappa and the Ponte di Rialto complete this homage to the Veneto region. The second coin of this series dishes out a place of pasta all’amatriciana, the hearty meal that is typical of Lazio, accompanied by a carafe of Frascati wine. Mythical creatures and an ancient aqueduct are reminiscent of the culture of the countryside around the capital of Rome.
Comics, Fashion and TV
For the first time ever, Italy dedicates a coin to a comic, in fact, as many as three coins. Comic fans probably know already what masterwork will be honoured: Diabolik, which is arguably the most popular Italian comic series ever and was also acclaimed internationally. In 1962, the sisters Angela and Luciana Giussani published the first adventure of a hero named Diabolik. They were inspired by looking out of their window: there were crowds of commuters hurrying to Milan’s main station every day. So they came up with an ingenious idea – Diabolik was published in a handy format (known in Italy as the “Diabolik” format), enabling commuters to comfortably read it in overcrowded train compartments. The three 5-euro coins are dedicated to one main character each, colour elements evoke the world of comics. There will be both cupronickel and silver versions.
A second three-part series has a distinguished, elegant style: the 50-euro gold and the 5-euro silver coins of the “Italian Excellences” series are dedicated to the fashion designer Giorgio Armani. Against the background of a fabric pattern, the motifs show various sketches for dresses in the typical GA style. They all feature the GA logo on the reverse.
She has become a cult in Italy and celebrated major success in Spain as well as in Russia and Japan: Raffaella Carrà was a singer, dancer, actress and television presenter. An entire generation of Italians grew up with the dynamic lady from Bologna. Now she has been honoured with a 5-euro coin of the “Great Italian Artists Series”.
Golf: the Ryder Cup
When people think of sports and Italy, soccer usually comes to mind first. This year, however, the Italian mint celebrates golf. And there is a good reason for this: since 1927, golf champions from the US have been competing with representatives of European countries in the Ryder Cup. The tournament takes place every two years, and in 2023 for the first time in Rome, Italy. The 10-euro silver coin is plated with rhodium and – fitting the event’s premiere in the country – Italy introduces a technical innovation. It is the first Italian coin that has a curved shape, one side is concave, the other convex. This shape requires sophisticated technical know-how and has been used only by a handful of mints in the past years (for instance by the US Mint for a coin on the moon landing, which was awarded with the COTY 2021). Thus, the Italian Ryder Cup coin is likely to attract special attention among collectors.
The Future of the Planet
A crucial issue of our society is sustainability and how to determine the course for the future through our actions. In 2023, the fourth issue of the colour series “Sustainable World – Endangered Animals” will be released. It is dedicated to the African elephant. A special feature: just like the previous coin of this series, the elephant, too, is highlighted by phosphorescent colours making the motif glow in the dark.
For all those who are looking for firsts: the Italian mint issues its first coin in the shape of a square, however, with rounded corners. The 5-euro coin “Environmental Protection” recalls an amendment to Italy’s constitution that was adopted by parliament in 2022. The articles highlight the importance of environmental protection and biodiversity. In relief, the coin depicts soil holding a seed that has already sprouted on the reverse and is growing as a small plant. To recreate the colour of the soil, the Italian mint opted for a bi-metal coin with a silver core and a copper ring. Delicate colour elements complement the unusual design. An edition that is anything but dusty!
And another novelty: also for the first time, Italy issues a latent image. The 5-euro silver coin “Demographic Development” skilfully combines a powerful statement with sophisticated craftsmanship. One side depicts symbolic figures on a map of Italy, the other side a pomegranate and an olive branch. Italy, which has long had one of the lowest birth rates in Europe, demonstrates its desire for a growing population and increasing fertility by a latent image revealing more symbolic figures and olive branches on the two sides.
Celebrating Italy’s High Culture
Despite this wealth of topics, Italy’s high culture is not neglected either. From the late Baroque star architect Luigi Vanvitelli to the national poet Dante Alighieri, the writers Alessandro Manzoni and Italo Calvino, and Bergamo and Brescia, Italy’s Capitals of Culture – high culture is an essential pillar of the Italian identity and of the country’s commemorative coins.
Long Awaited: Italy’s Online Store for Collectors from All Over Europe
There is good news for all those looking for new releases from Italy: as of this year, EU citizens outside Italy can also order coins directly from the online shop of the Italian mint and subscribe to their newsletter.
The complete 2023 Coin Collection is available as a PDF.