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Lot 723

Estimate: 30'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 30'000 CHF Price realized: 50'000 CHF
The Knights of St. John in Malta. Adrien de Wignacourt, 63rd Grand Master, 1690-1697. 4 Zecchini, 1695. AV 13.84 g. S:IOAN:BAPT: -F.A.DR: DEWIGNA - COVRT The Grand Master kneeling l., receiving from St. John Baptist, standing r., the banner of the Order. Rev. M.M. HOSPITALIS ET S:SEP:HIERVSALEM Between date 16-95, crowned arms of the Grand Master quartered with those of the Order, all within palm wreath. Fr. 14; Restelli-Sammut 117, 1 and pl. XXXVI, 6; Schembri p. 112 and pl. 19, 1.
Of the highest rarity, less than five specimens known. Close to extremely fine
Provenance: Auction Galerie des Monnaies SA, Geneva 4/1970, xx
" Up to this the highest value in gold was the zecchino. A. de Wignacourt was the first to strike four-zecchini pieces ", Schembri p. 112 (he had classified the double zecchino of Lascaris (above, no. 722 as medal).
Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt, 1601-1622.
Adrien de Wignacourt was Alof de Wignacourt’s nephew. In 1693 there was a tremendous earthquake, which did considerable damage to Malta and Sicily, including leveling the cathedral of Notabile (Mdina). Interestingly enough, during rebuilding operations in 1698 a rather large hoard of Arab gold coins turned up (some 35 pounds and 9 ounces!), probably dating to c. 1040. While the bronze vessel that contained the gold pieces is preserved in the cathedral museum, all the coins were melted down, partially to pay for relief efforts.

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