World of Coins

Modern European coins except the euro => Italy, Malta, Cyprus and modern Greece => Topic started by: <k> on March 17, 2011, 01:36:52 AM

Title: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 17, 2011, 01:36:52 AM
I was revisiting Malta's coins of the 1970s recently, and realising just how much there was to enjoy about them. First of all there are the unusual denominations of 2, 3 and 5 mils - there being ten mils to a cent. Then there is the high relief of the sculpting, and the sheer artistry of even the minor details of the designs.

Look at the stylish and elaborate numerals on the reverses. How often do you see that sort of detail nowadays? Look at the vegetation that encircles the value, with the circle being cleverly closed by the curving of the word "CENTS" at the bottom of the design. The more you look, you more how realise how much thought went into the design.



NOTE: Maltese artist Emvin Cremona is often credited with these designs. Whilst his ideas may have informed or inspired some of the eventual designs, the finished designs were created and modelled by Englishman Christopher Ironside (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,8789.0.html). To see some of the unrealised designs for this series, by both Mr Cremona and Mr Ironside, click on the link below:

Malta: decimal variations (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,12562.0.html)
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 17, 2011, 01:40:15 AM
On the obverse of the coins, quaint dolphins dance around the edge, reminding you that Malta is an island nation in the Mediterranean. It all adds to the unique look of these coins - there isn't really another set like it.

This is a 5 mils coin and depicts an earthen lampstand.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 17, 2011, 01:46:06 AM
Given the fact that Malta has been a crossroads for various cultures in its history, it has lot of subject matter to choose from. Here we see the Great Siege Monument, which depicts allegorical representations of Fortitude, Hope and Faith. Antonio Sciortino (1897-1927) created this sculpture as an expression of the determination of the Great Siege defendants and of the qualities deemed necessary for tiny Malta to survive in the world.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 17, 2011, 01:47:58 AM
On the 3 mils you see a bee and honeycomb, one of relatively few bees to be found on modern coins.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 17, 2011, 01:49:35 AM
The one cent coin shows the George Cross, which King George VI awarded to the island as a whole for the gallantry of its islanders during the Second World War.

Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 17, 2011, 01:54:51 AM
The 10 cents depicts the Barge of the Grand Master.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 17, 2011, 01:58:00 AM
A rather different vessel appears on the octagonal 25c coin.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 17, 2011, 01:59:06 AM
Penthesilea, Queen of the Amazons, is depicted on the 2 cents coin.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 17, 2011, 02:04:26 AM
The Floral Altar in the Temple of Hagar Qim is shown on the 5 cents coin.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 17, 2011, 02:10:48 AM
The two mils coin fittingly shows a simple Maltese cross.

After the change-over to the blandly designed euro, with its technically inferior sculpting and engraving, these beautiful old coins just disappeared from view. Many of them probably committed suicide, feeling that there was no meaning to their existence any more. Others were probably taken into caring homes, by owners who appreciated their beauty, and who mourned the change-over to the insipid euro. Who can blame them? This is a set well worth owning.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: bagerap on March 17, 2011, 03:10:28 AM
I love these too, and always felt that the dolphins were laughing.
Bob
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 17, 2011, 03:20:00 AM
Yes, I always smile when I look at them.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: izotz on March 17, 2011, 10:05:35 AM
I would say that those denominations where available still in the last sets before the euro. At least I have those in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

For example, this is the set for 2007 :
(http://img269.imageshack.us/img269/1639/21bm9do9gcgk7e28kgrhqmh.jpg)

You can see the 5 mils coin in the middle :
(http://img156.imageshack.us/img156/9851/set2007a.th.jpg) (http://img26.imageshack.us/img26/6496/set2007b.jpg)
(http://img26.imageshack.us/img26/6496/set2007b.th.jpg) (http://img156.imageshack.us/img156/9851/set2007a.jpg)

Edit : You can find the cross of Malta in 2 mils , 2005 set, and the bee in 3 mils, 2006 set.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 17, 2011, 12:54:27 PM
I'm surprised that the mils coins were included, or that they circulated together, because the coin designs were changed in 1986.

Here are the coins of my 1986 proof set:

1  cent.   Weasel.
2  cents.  Olive branch.
5  cents.  Fresh water crab.
10 cents.  Dolphin fish.
25 cents.  The Ghirlanda plant.
50 cents.  The Tulliera plant.
1  lira.   The Merill (blue rock thrush), Malta's national bird.

And here are the coins of my 1972 proof set:

2  mils.   Maltese Cross.
3  mils.   Bee and honey comb.
5  mils.   Earthen lampstand.
1  cent.   George Cross.
2  cents.  Penthesilea, Queen of the Amazons.
5  cents.  Floral altar in the Temple of Hagar Qim.
10 cents.  Barge of the Grand Master.
50 cents.  Great Siege Monument, portraying three deities.

So if the mils coins were still issued after 1986, I'm surprised that the Maltese didn't change THEIR designs too. Or maybe they were planning to phase them out, originally?

Anyway, the new designs after 1986 were also attractive ones. I particularly liked the weasel and the crab.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: Figleaf on March 17, 2011, 12:57:33 PM
The denomination mil is not as unusual as all that. There are quite a few Arab states that used a pound of 1000 mils at some time. This is likely to be the source of inspiration for the Maltese mil. In addition, the mil was a US denomination. Just not on coins.

Peter
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: izotz on March 17, 2011, 01:08:10 PM
I don't really know whether they actually circulated. I suppose they were only issued for sets in the last pre-euro years. In fact, I am having a look at World Coins catalog, and it says it is "in sets only". The error I found in the book is that it says that there is a 2 mils coin in 2005, 2006 and 2007 set, although I show here that you have :
2005 -> 2 mils
2006 -> 3 mils
2007 -> 5 mils

By the way, these are the pictures for 2005 and 2006 sets.

(http://img842.imageshack.us/img842/7310/276283.th.jpg) (http://img842.imageshack.us/img842/7310/276283.jpg)
(http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/3002/284291.th.jpg) (http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/3002/284291.jpg)
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 17, 2011, 01:13:17 PM
.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: translateltd on March 18, 2011, 06:27:47 AM
The denomination mil is not as unusual as all that. There are quite a few Arab states that used a pound of 1000 mils at some time. This is likely to be the source of inspiration for the Maltese mil. In addition, the mil was a US denomination. Just not on coins.

Peter

I think the point relates more to the timing of the issue, and the changeover of the designs on the cent-denominated coins.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 18, 2011, 10:18:42 PM
In 1986 Malta issued a new series of coins, with changed specifications, new reverse designs, and a new obverse design. You can see the new obverse design in the image below. It is similar to the obverse of the 25c coin of 1975.

(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=9100.0;attach=12324;image)
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 18, 2011, 10:19:11 PM
From 1991, Malta changed the obverse design.  The new one depicted Malta’s coat of arms.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 18, 2011, 10:19:36 PM
(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=17783.0;attach=79338;image)

From 1986, the reverse of the one cent coin depicted a weasel, whilst the two cents showed an olive branch.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 18, 2011, 10:20:59 PM
(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=9114.0;attach=72866;image)

The five cents coin depicted a fresh water crab. At first it was a straightforwardly round coin, but in 1991, when the series acquired the new obverse of the coat of arms, the five cents also acquired a rather stylish polygonal rim. The same change was made to the 50 cents coin, which depicted a Tulliera plant, also known as the Maltese fleabane. 

(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=9114.0;attach=79332;image)

(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=13166.0;attach=79334;image)
 
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 18, 2011, 10:23:27 PM
(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=4024.0;attach=88597;image)

The 10 cents shows a dolphin fish,


(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=13166.0;attach=79333;image)

whilst the 25 cents depicts a Ghirlanda flower.

 
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 18, 2011, 10:23:55 PM
(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=23679.0;attach=79329;image)

The one lira coin portrays Malta’s national bird, a merill, also known as a blue rock thrush.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 18, 2011, 10:24:15 PM
Another attractive set, then, if not quite as distinctive as the set that preceded it in the 1970s. In 2008 Malta adopted the euro. All those attractive old designs were swept from view, to be replaced by a mere three designs for the bland and insipid euro series, with its bleakly monolithic neo-Stalinist uniformity.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: Spyke63 on March 21, 2011, 10:30:47 PM
I have recently updated Christopher Ironside's work on Wikipedia including the Malta coins.  Your information adds to my research.  Thank you.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 21, 2011, 10:40:34 PM
Yes, I've had a look at your Wikipedia page. I only wish something as informative as that had been available earlier. Designers have been neglected, but it's always fascinating to see the scope of their portfolio. Mr Ironside was an excellent modeller too - just look at the detail on that first Maltese set.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: Spyke63 on March 22, 2011, 02:19:38 PM
..there is a story in there.  Christopher did take the Royal Mint to the High Court over copyright issues saying that designers should both be recognised and get paid royalties if their designs were used by the client for purposes other than the initial commission.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on March 22, 2011, 03:52:05 PM
According to my notes from the National Archives, the original 1970s designs were all ascribed to Envin Cremona, except for the 3 mils (honeybee), 5 mils (earthen lampstand), and the 2 cents (Penthesilea, Queen of the Amazons), which were credited to Mr Ironside, who modelled all the designs. The 25 cents didn't appear until 1975, and I have no data on that. (There is a backlog of documents that should have arrived at the National Archives but still hasn't). Does this data square with your own researches, Spyke63? And do you know whether Mr Ironside also designed the 1975 25 cents?
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: translateltd on March 23, 2011, 06:30:57 PM
There was indeed a Maltese pound, another name for which was the lira.  Just like Lebanese pounds still exist, but are known as livres locally, at least to those speaking French ...

Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: chrisild on March 23, 2011, 11:15:37 PM
There was indeed a Maltese pound, another name for which was the lira.  Just like Lebanese pounds still exist, but are known as livres locally, at least to those speaking French ...

Basically I agree - what is a pound in English is a livre in French, a lira in Italian, etc. However, if you look at the Maltese coins, you will see that the £ symbol was actually replaced by Lm. Now you may say that "pound/pounds" is English and "lira/liri" is Maltese. But the central bank (http://www.centralbankmalta.org/site/currency1f.html) specifically states that the pound "was renamed Maltese lira (Lm) in 1983" ...

Christian
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: bagerap on March 24, 2011, 01:09:59 AM
I'm reminded that in parts of rural France un livre is half a kilo, or 1.1lb. The pound/livre duality continues.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: translateltd on March 25, 2011, 11:43:34 AM
Basically I agree - what is a pound in English is a livre in French, a lira in Italian, etc. However, if you look at the Maltese coins, you will see that the £ symbol was actually replaced by Lm. Now you may say that "pound/pounds" is English and "lira/liri" is Maltese. But the central bank (http://www.centralbankmalta.org/site/currency1f.html) specifically states that the pound "was renamed Maltese lira (Lm) in 1983" ...

Christian

So indeed the pound was the official term prior to 1983.

 
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: chrisild on March 25, 2011, 04:42:49 PM
Yes, it was - that is why I wanted to emphasize that the change from "pound/pounds" to "lira/liri" was actually a name change. Now I would still like to know whether Mr Ironside won the case ...

Christian
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: Spyke63 on March 29, 2011, 09:47:29 PM
Christian,  the case was both won and lost (I can't say much more).  Interestingly though, it was one of Mark Stephens' first cases (Intellectual Property Law; Christopher Ironside vs HM Attorney-General CH 1983 I No. 2977). Mark in now the defence for Julian Assange.
Title: Re: Malta's pre-euro coinage, 1972-2007
Post by: <k> on December 06, 2019, 02:02:20 PM
Malta, 50 cents trial, 1972.  Royal Mint.

See: MALTA. 1972 (ND) copper-nickel 50 Cent Planchet Trial. PCGS Genuine Royal Mint. | eBay (https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MALTA-1972-ND-copper-nickel-50-Cent-Planchet-Trial-PCGS-Genuine-Royal-Mint/183945641135?hash=item2ad403bcaf:g:Pn0AAOSwQVdddVwb)