Italian East Africa 50 Lire Banknote 1939

Italian East Africa banknotes 50 Lire Bank note

Italian East Africa paper money 50 Lire Bank note 1939
Italian East Africa banknotes 50 Lire Bank note 14.1.1939 Banca D'Italia. P-1b Overprint "SERIE SPECIALE AFRICA ORIENTALE ITALIANA"

Obverse: At the top, the annotation "Special Series, Italian Africa", later changed to "Special Series, Italian East Africa". At the bottom, the prohibition (subsequently revoked) on circulation of the notes outside those territories.

The drawing, rectangular, includes a watermarked medallion on the left encircled by a coloured wreath of fruits, bound together by a purple ribbon. Stylized flowers and coloured Greek frets compose the rectangular outer cornice. The central background, with geometric designs around the number "50", is yellow and red.

Reverse: At the centre we find a bronze-green Capitoline she-wolf. A circular chiaroscuro cornice, intaglio with ovolos, encircles the watermark medallion; the outer cornice, brown chiaroscuro on a yellow background and encircled by a Greek fret, consists of a festoon of flowers and fruits bound by a ribbon. The watermark, within the medallion apart from the decorated background, shows the profile of Julius Caesar; the vertical borders, also in watermark, carry the words "Lire 50".

Drawing: Giovanni Pietrucci.
Dimensions: 128 x 74mm.
Paper: White watermark.
Characteristics: Chrome letterset, four colours.
Printer: Bank of Italy Printing Works.
No. notes authorized: 11,000,000.
Legislation: Ministerial Decree of 10 October 1933; Ministerial Decree of 28 March 1938; Ministerial Decree of 8 August 1938.

Italian East Africa banknotes


50 Lire      100 Lire      500 Lire      1000 Lire


With the end of the seven-month war against Ethiopia, on 9 May 1936 Italy founded a colonial empire officially called Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana), consisting of Italian Somaliland, Ethiopia and Eritrea, the latter having been an Italian colony since 1890.
The colonial currency was the AOI lira, at par with the Italian lira and with the same exchange rate. The first banknotes were printed in 1938. By ministerial decree (28 March 1938) the Bank of Italy was authorized to issue special series of notes in the denominations of 1,000, 500, 100 and 50 lire that could circulate legally in the territories of Italian East Africa. The larger denominations bore the same drawings as the equivalent Italian notes, designed by Giovanni Capranesi. For the 50-lira notes, however, the Giovanni Pietrucci design was chosen, the reverse bearing the Roman she-wolf. The face of all the notes carried the annotation "Serie Speciale Africa Italiana", later changed to "Serie Speciale Africa Orientale Italiana".
These notes ceased to circulate with the British occupation of Italian East Africa in 1941.