The Original Money of the Mafia
Everyone knows that the modern day Mafia has its roots in Italy, but few know that the Italian mob started as two distinct crime syndicates - the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, headquartered in Palermo, and the Naples-based Camorra. Both emerged in the early nineteenth century, when southern Italy was under the rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. As southern Italy’s old feudal system eroded, there was an enormous spike in landowners—from 12,000 in 1812 to 20,000 in 1861. The bureaucratic administration of the king, Ferdinand II, did not grow quickly enough to accommodate the sudden demand for civil servants. The Sicilian Cosa Nostra and the Neapolitan Camorra filled this power vacuum.
Once simple bandits and horse thieves, the mob took advantage of the opportunity, devising ever more elaborate criminal enterprises. By the end of Ferdinand’s reign, both crime syndicates were firmly entrenched, and today their influence extends to the United States where we know them as the Mafia. This authentic, silver 120 grana coin was issued by King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies, who reigned from 1830-1859—the 29-year period that gave birth to the mob. Coins just like this one were routinely collected from new landowners by mafia agents as protection money. Guaranteed authentic legal tender, this sterling example comes handsomely boxed with Certificate of Authenticity. Sure to be a great conversation starter and a standout in your collection!
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