Malta (1568-72) 4 tari

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Sincona sale 43, lot 2574
This specimen was lot 2574 in Sincona sale 43 (Zurich, October 2017), where it sold for 1,800 CHF (about US$2,148 including buyer's fees). The catalog description[1] noted,
"MALTA, Pietro del Monte, 1568-1572 4 Tari o. J. Birgu oder Fort St. Angelo. Schön-sehr schön. Knapper Schrötling. (Order of Malta, Pietro del Monte, 1568-1572, undated four tari, struck at Birgu or St. Angelo, Fine-very fine, Small flan.)"
The rather gruesome image of the head of the prophet on a platter appears on a number of Maltese coins of the early modern period. Severed heads were likely a familiar sight in Malta in the 1550's as the island endured a long siege from Turkish attackers. Grand master Jean de la Valette's heroic efforts in fending off the besiegers led to the main town being renamed for him, Valetta. Ferdinand von Hompesch was the last grand master of the knights of Malta before the Order was evicted from the island by Napoleon. The British in turn evicted the French but never returned the island to the Order, retaining it as a colony until 1964. The Order today runs charity hospitals in Europe and is headquartered in Rome. Thirty tari made a piastra or tallero.

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: silver, this specimen 9.35 g.

Catalog reference: Restelli/Sammut 2.


  • [1]Richter, Jürg, Sincona sale 43, Gold and Silver Coins and Medals, Zurich: Sincona AG, 2017.

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