“ Mamma mia dammi 100 Lire …” - Remarks about an Italian coin of 100 Lire, emblem of a State nation between numismatics and Design.

"Mamma mia dammi 100 Lire ..." - Remarks about an Italian coin of 100 Lire, emblem of a State nation between numismatics and Design.

Galbiati, M.

Polimi - Politecnico di Milano: School of Design

Retirado de: http://convergencias.esart.ipcb.pt

RESUMO: "Mãe, me dê por favor 100 Liras, porque para a América eu quero ir ...", Assim diz um antigo refrão de uma famosa canção popular italiana de finais do século anterior “Mamma mia dammi 100 Lire che in America Voglio andar..." , relativa à história da emigração dos italianos pelo Oceano Atlântico.


PALAVRAS-CHAVE: Dinheiro, Moeda; 100 liras

ABSTRACT: “ Mamma mia dammi 100 Lire che in America Voglio andar ...”, “Mother, give me please 100 Lire, because to America I want to go …”, so said an old refrain of a famous italian popular song of the last past century, that told about the emigration history of Italian people over Atlantic Ocean Sea.


KEYWORDS: Money; Coin; 100 lire.

“ Mamma mia dammi 100 Lire che in America Voglio andar ...”, “Mother, give me please 100 Lire, because to America I want to go …”, so said an old refrain of a famous italian popular song of the last past century, that told about the emigration history of Italian people over Atlantic Ocean Sea [1].


This because, while in the Faculty and University school of Design now dispute about what is design or not, in the enormous field of subjects and objects that we can see, and show now on industrial production, one place can be reserved to money, particularly for coins, more now then age ago, thanks to their new shape, material and form, that now where money became more “virtual”, to speak about coins can appear anachronistic to people that use e-money.
This situation remembers to me as many time ago, just from the experience born years ago, a Design questions that drives me now to write this few rows about the relation or interference between design and numismatics [2], with a particular view about an Italian design reality.
Money, card money, gold coins, silver coins, cooper coins, metallic, double metallic, paper coin, textile money, of glass, of salt, of goods; round coins, squared coins, rectangle coins, hexagonal, octagonal ...; holed; light weight, heavy weight; gloss, brilliant; dirty coins; tiny or big, virtual, real or falsehood forged.
This takes me now to some years later, when during my teaching work into a laboratory [3], I proposed to students to take in classroom for the next week class an object industrially produced in the years between 1950 to 1970. This exercise to teach and to help students to understand the different characteristics of this selected goods and objects, and start to organized them in a daily exhibition in classroom.
All the students, observant of the exercise that I asked them, they arrived and appeared in the laboratory classroom with important objects, famous in the design context, but, as seen many times, more difficult to move or with heavy weight, like a type writer machines, lamps or dishes. The number of objects always in great number, as the number of students [4] were usually lamps, chairs, type writer, electrical goods, toys, radio, and sometimes books. After the first step of analysis we studied how we can organize an exhibition in classroom with the goodwill to understand how this objects can work together with a space, live or have interference with a space place, out from their originally world context to use.
The objects, as I said after this first step of analysis, were organized as better in an exhibition using tables and frames in the classroom with a communication text, of course an important part of an exhibition. The space of the classroom was used all for this exhibition, out of traditional way to show objects in a traditional exhibition, and enriched sometimes of poetic value, the documents and objects flying in the space in the concept to read them with no their own originally weight.  This condition sometimes was born and born from an unreal question to answer as condition to study a way to exhibit.
Very unusual situation, that I can say now after many year, happened with different students, was that no one students brought for this work a simple coin of 100 Lire (a famous coin in use at the age in Italy), coined in Italy by Bank of Italy (Banca d’Italia) from 1955, after a test period of five Year. This coin was really easy to take and bring in classroom respect the great and heavy weight objects, besides this metallic coin had all the characteristics that I asked for this exercise, but no students propose a coins in their work [5]. The students had not considered a coin as design because probably too much simple? Maybe, a coin, or this coins can not be Design? This coin was an industrial product with few million of pieces, with artistic and cultural references but essentially was easy datable. The date was one of the more important characteristics that can helped the students [6]. A coin full of historical means but I can propose me a question: a coin can be Design? If I answer yes, what kind of Design represent? For me can represent Design, maybe in cultural heritage context with high connotation of symbolic, celebrative, commemorative, national, historically and lifestyle of a country, in good or bad situation and context for long year. This coin represent more respect other design objects; it had represented the renaissance of Italian Country after the world war two. In the same way it represent with its two sides a card (metallic card ...) of Italy in 8 grams weight.
Technically the coin named 100 Lire Minèrva (every coin have a name) was minted from 1955 to 1989 in total number of 1.805.955.500 pieces by The Mint of Bank of Italy (Zecca della Banca d’Italia). Graphically this coin wear on Dritto front (Right side) Minèrva [7] that holds out her right arm to an olive tree [8] (or other species of tree) [9] and holds with her left arm a spear with no arrow. On the right side of this front is possible to see the Mint’s mark (R), and on the left side the current value (L.100). In exergue [10] you can see the thousandth. On Verso side (on the other hand or other side) you can see a woman head turns on left with the same (head) surrounded by a laurel crown.
All around is possible to read the inscription: Repubblica Italiana.
Under this inscription is possible to see the name of the authors, (Romagnoli Giampaoli Inc.) [11] on two rows [12]. The 100 Lire Minèrva was made by Acmonital [13], or Italian Monetary Steel.
A coin like this that accompanied Italian people about for fifty years, and still in live, will live until 2012 [14], date when Euro [15] coins consumed from 2002, will replace definitively and completely the national old coins, and in spite of new e-money and card (new shape, magnetic, on plastic and plastic-card), the coins will survive after thousand years, maybe as object of a collection or in the numismatics world,  and will give to people, student and designer the possibility to debate if a coin can be design or numismatics.
If a coins can be design or not can depend on us too, if we want to design (new) coin or not, with new design as designer or artist, but I can say that if Design can help for me to live better too, many 100 lire, or sorry, the equivalent now 0,05 Euro Cent, can help people to live better ... [16].

Notes and Bibliographic References

[1] “Mamma mia dammi 100 Lire che in America voglio andar, e voglio andar, 100 Lire io te le do ma in America no, no, no”. Translation: Mother, please give me 100 Lire, because  to America I want to go; 100 Lire to you I will give, but to America no, no, no. This refrain of a popular country and famous Italian emigrant song, of anonymous author, dated on  second half of the nineteenth century, told about the italian situation of the emigrant people across the Atlantic sea to go to America (...). Probably the famous 100 Lire in the song text, good to pay  the trip to America by steam ship at those times, was not the metallic coin of this article, but for me born in 1965, the only one well-known by Acmonital alloy 100 Lire was the same coined by bank of Italy from 1955, that I tell You.
[2] Numismatics: science that study coins about their own history, economy, legal and artistic life.
[3] This is about my teaching experience as assistant professor and as professor by contract in Politecnico di Milano from 1992 to 1997 on Architecture Faculty and from 1998 to now in Design Faculty of Politecnico di Milano.
[4] Usually they were and are around fifty students from every part of the world.
[5] This more now about the different design classes as Graphic design, Product design, Communication  design, Cultural Heritage Design … .
[6] The date were marked on one side, every year, from 1955 date coined, to 1989.
[7] Minèrva: Italian, Etruscan and Roman divinity of the Wisdom and of Peaceful Arts. Identified as Athena the Greek divinity and compared with her sometimes but with a lower warlike characteristic, became  the protective of towns and cities. Minèrva in group with Jupiter and Juno created  the Capitoline Triad. Patroness of arts, trades and professions, and scholastic works. She was venerated as healer (lat. Minerva Medica).
[8] Minerva taught to people to cultivate olive tree, and as good Mytological tradition this tree is and was an olive tree. Latin language: Minerva Olea sacra erat… . See: http://www.officinadellamedaglia.it/cento_lire.asp or http://www.officinadellamedaglia.it/collezione.asp
[9] This original version came from, because is not so apparent, on this coin, to see the plant species. See: http://numismatica-italiana.lamoneta.it/riepilogo/W-ITL
[10] Exergue: lower sector of a coin or a medal, under the main picture and usually limited by an horizontal line
[11] Giuseppe Romagnoli as designer and Pietro Giampaoli engraver. Giuseppe Romagnoli, designer  of medals and painter, was born in Bologna in 1872; attended as artist with sculptures many Biennale exhibition in Venice, arrived during the ’30 years to Novecento Italian artist current. He designed all the model for coined mint coins from 1918 (Italian Kingdom), from 1936 (Italian Empire) and Italian Republic after second World war. He was died in Rome in 1966. Pietro Giampaoli, was an italian engraver and sculptor born in 1898 in Urbignacco di Buja; in 1920 studied Fine Arts in Brera’s Academy in Milan. In Rome start his work as sculptor and in the year 1936 became chief engraver in Italian Mint and engraved many coined mint coins. He was died in Rome in 1998. About Giuseppe Romagnoli You can see: http://www.online.latina.it/scultura/autori/giuseppe-romagnoli.html ; about Pietro Giampaoli see: Vittoria Masutti, “Pietro Giampaoli Medaglista”– Hand book of the Exhibition organized in Buja (Italy) from 17th may to 15th June 1986. Udine, Comune di Buja, 1986.
[12] Technical data : 100 LIRE MINERVA. Outline: striped;  Current value: 1oo Lire (= 0,051 Euro Cent at now); Material: Acmonital; Diameter: mm.27,8; weight: 8 gram; Aces: as French; Model Year: 1955 to 1989; Test Year : from 1950. Total coined: n.1.805.955.500 pieces. After 1972 was used a new mint in substitution as the original broken. In Italy this coin was used together too with other little diameter 100 Lire from 1990 and 100 Lire new series named “Turrita” from 1993, until Euro arrival. During the years 1976, 1977, in Italy some Bank proposed too paper coin as cheque or bank check of current value of 100 Lire, common called mini-check. This because in those years was very difficult to use and find little coins of 50 and 100 Lire to change, so many trade association and not only, turned downwards this operation.
[13] Acmonital or Italian Monetary Steel is the alloy used in Italy to coin money from 1939 on all the coins in the Imperial Series from values 20 Cent to 2 Lire. The Italian Republic, after the second world war, used Acmonital for the coins of 50 Lire (named Vulcano) and 100 Lire (named Minerva) and on the external side of the double metallic coins of 500 Lire from 1953 to 2oo1. Acmonital is made by Steel, Nickel, Chrome and Vanadium in different portions. Acmonital is high magnetic and is captured by a magnet; this magnetic situation became lover when Nickel in the alloy is very high.
[14] 2012 is the deadline year when Italian National Bank –Banca d’Italia will stop to exchange Lire for Euro.
[15] Euro, invariable plural word; 1 euro, 2 euro, 5 euro …, valid to all people and to all culture that use Euro money. The choice of the word “Euro” was decided just about its own invariability on singular and plural use of this word, and to be the same word to all European languages.
[16] See: Ensino Magazine, Ano XI - N°.120 Fevereiro 2oo8, pag. V ; and see too: Ensino Magazine Online, Ano XI N°.120 – http://www.ensino.eu/2008/fev2008/dossier3.html : interview to Marcello Galbiati titled: Dossier Fórum Esart “Portugal deve saber promover o design”. At the question : De uma forma concisa, qual é a sua definição de design favorita? ”Design é o todo, o conjunto de condiçôes (circunstâncias) e de objectos (coisas), reproduzidas e reproduzíveis, que nos rodeiam. Esse todo é culturalmente rico e goza de um determinado valor formal que pode e deve ajudar-nos a viver melhor. Nem tudo é design mas, presentemente, é importante olhar à nossa volta, pensar e descobrir o que é design.

Reference According to APA Style, 5th edition:
Galbiati, M. ; (2009) “ Mamma mia dammi 100 Lire …” - Remarks about an Italian coin of 100 Lire, emblem of a State nation between numismatics and Design.. Convergências - Revista de Investigação e Ensino das Artes , VOL II (4) Retrieved from journal URL: http://convergencias.ipcb.pt