The “Old 500 Silver Lira”: A Rarity That Can Make You Rich

Throughout history, coins have had the power not only to serve as an instrument of economic exchange, but also to preserve and tell the socio-cultural and historical events of a nation. As an emblematic example of this phenomenon are the old Italian lira, coins that encapsulate a piece of Italian history. In particular, the famous “500 silver lira,” known for being the first silver coin minted in Italy, stands out for its historical importance and collector value.

In contrast to the past, when the 500 lira was exclusively banknotes, this particular edition of the 500 lira, named “Caravelle” for the image depicted, marked an era, standing out for both its unique design and rarity.

The History and Value of the “500 Lira Caravelle

The “500 Lira Caravelle” was issued in a period of economic revival following World War II and quickly became one of the most emblematic currency symbols of the 20th century. Its production extended from the era of the 1950s and 1960s until 2001, with limited runs prepared exclusively for collectors in later years.

The coin features the image of three caravels on the obverse, an homage to those used by Christopher Columbus on his first voyage to the Americas. On the reverse, however, appears the face of a woman, modeled on the effigy of the wife of one of the engravers who worked on the coin. This particular issue is the result of the “four-handed” work of these artists, who curated both sides of the coin.

Although it was minted in silver alloy, the “500 silver lira” is not generally considered rare in the collecting scene, with valuations ranging from 10 to 40 euros for copies in mint condition.

A Detail that Makes the Difference: The “Caravelle Against the Wind”

However, there is one particular version of this coin that can revolutionize the value of your collection: the “500 silver lira” minted in 1957. These rare units, also known as “Proofs,” can be worth several thousand euros-usually between 3,000 and 5,000 euros-with some examples reaching and exceeding 11,000 euros at various auctions, thanks to their impeccable condition.

The special feature of these coins, which makes them so valuable, is a minting “error” in the design of the flags on the sails, depicted in the opposite direction of travel. This detail gave them the nickname “Caravels Against the Wind” or “wrong,” turning them into objects of desire for collectors.

To come across one of these rare editions of the “500 Lira Caravels” is to come across a real treasure, a piece of history capable of greatly enriching one’s collection and, potentially, one’s wallet.

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