Italy suffered from a persistent shortage of coins in the 1970s. The national mint was technically totally outdated, and unable to satisfy the demand for lire-coins. To provide redress banks and merchants issued small checks; change was often given in the form of sweets, stamps, phone tokens or tickets for public transportation.
This changed in 1979, when the Italian mint reorganized and began to issue coins in sufficient quantity again. That year among many other coins, this special issue was released. It was produced in collaboration with the FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The coin features a girl's head on one face and a cow with her baby calf on the other. The inscription reads NUTRIRE IL MONDO, feed the world.Special Issue F.A.O.