ALBANIA 10 lek 1939


ALBANIA, Italian Occupation, 10 lek, 1939 R, silver, 8g, 0.2684 ozT, KM34, cleaned XF

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From the first year of the Italian occupation of Albania.

Modern Albania was inhabited by homo sapiens (“us”) around 40,000 years ago. There are (in 2023) no known neanderthal remnants. The cultural artifacts evolve from late Paleolithic to Neolithic and Chalcolithic. In the Bronze Age ethnic groups, known to the later Greeks, such as the Illyrians and the Epirotes, emerged. The Illyrians fought against invading Macedonians, ultimately unsuccessfully. Rome had definitively conquered the region by 167 BC. It remained Roman until the 7th century, when it was overrun by Slavs. A nugget of territory was ruled by “Albanian-Greeks” as the Principality of Arbanon, a fief in the Byzantine Empire. In the 12th and 13th centuries Venice and Serbia maintained outposts and claims. Charles of Anjou took the Albanian upper classes under his wing, and set up a Kingdom of Albania, which devolved into several other smaller political regimes. The Ottomans invaded in the 15th century and held the region until just before World War I. The Ottoman government had a confused policy regarding Albanian independence. In the event, there was a declaration of a Principality in 1912, followed quickly by a war between Muslims and Christians, the abdication of the Prince (a German), the declaration of a Republic with a personal dictator, Zog, in 1925, more ethnic and religious wars both internal and external, the conversion of the Republic into a Kingdom in 1928. Albania’s neighbors, Italy and Yugoslavia, couldn’t leave Albania alone. Over several decades Italy came out on top, culminating in an Italian invasion in 1939. The Italian occupation lasted through 1944, when they lost control. The Germans came in to hold the position, which workded for a while, then paritsans led by the Communist Enver Hoxha kicked them out. The partisans established a Communist style government that allied with Beijing before dissolving in 1989, when a Western style democracy and economic system was established. The government has been feeling its way in the dark, as it were, since then.

The political arrangements that resulted in the nations of modern Europe began to emerge out of anarchy starting in the 7th century AD or so. Europe, for our purposes stretches from Greenland to somewhere in Russia. Collectors of Europe would likely include Russia. Collectors of Asia, even though about 2/3 of Russia is in Asia, probably not.

By “Modern World Coins” we mean here, generally, the round, flat, shiny metal objects that people have used for money and still do. “Modern,” though, varies by location. There was some other way they were doing their economies, and then they switched over to “modern coins,” then they went toward paper money, now we’re all going toward digital, a future in which kids look at a coin and say “What’s that?” We’ll say: “We used to use those to buy things.” Kids will ask “How?” The main catalog reference is the Standard Catalog of World Coins, to which the KM numbers refer.