A Brief History of the Maltese Coinage
Throughout Malta's chequered history, the coinage used was mostly that of the ruling power of the central Mediterranean Sea at the time. From the early classical times Greek coins were circulating.
Malta followed the fortress of Sicily and was ruled successively by Swabians (1194-1266), Augevines (1266-1282), Aragonese (1283-1479) and Castilinans (1479-1530). Between 870 and 1530 no coins were minted in Malta and throughout this period the Maltese were using the currency if there foreign rulers current at the time in Sicily.
The Knight Of St John throughout the rule in Malta from 1530 to 1798, minted and circulated a number of their own coins. During the French occupation from 1798 to 1800 a number of silver coins of 30 and 15 Tari pieces as well as gold and silver ingots were struck. The minting of coins was, however, suspended after the Maltese rose against the French.
At the time of the British Protectorate, which was followed by the grant of the Maltese islands to Great Britain as a colony in 1814, the circulating currency was mainly Sicilian, Spanish, American, and French. Steps for the regularization of the monetary system were taken into 1825, and, on the 24th June of that year British silver and copper coins became legal tender. British gold sovereigns and half sovereigns were introduced a year later. A copper coin called the British Grain (1/3 farthing) was minted in England for exclusive use in Malta. This coin, meant to replace the so called Malta Grain which had later which had been minted by the order, continued to be struck until 1913. British Copper coins were declared the sole legal tender in October 1857 and remained until 1972, in spite of the fact that Malta gained Independence within the British Commonwealth in 1964.
In May 1972, the Malta Currency came into being and concurrently the currency system was changed into a decimal one. The Malta pound was divided into 100 cents, and 1 cent into 10 mils. Eight distinctive coins in Base metal were issued. In November of the same year, the first series of the Malta Numismatic Gold and Silver sets were issued. These coins and those of subsequent issues are legal tender.
On the 13th December 1974, a new Constitution was approved in Parliament and Malta was proclaimed a Republic within the Commonwealth. Following this event, a new emblem was adopted. However, 2000 Gold and Silver sets of the 1975 (fourth series) issue had already been minted. This limited number was released by the Government mint, but subsequent 1975 Malta Coins, although identical in the obverse, bore the new Emblem on there reverse side.
Malta coins will soon cease to be legal tender. The unofficial introduction date to the Euro will be in January 2008 thus ending the era of Malta Coins being struck and used. A special 2006 Malta coins set has been issued which will probably be the last official BU set.
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