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Lot 726

Estimate: 2'500 CHF   |   Starting price: 2'500 CHF Price realized: 5'000 CHF
The Knights of St. John in Malta. Antonio Manuel de Vilhena, 66th Grand Master, 1722-1736. 2 Zecchini, 1723. AV 6.50 g. DE VILHENA - F.D.AN:MANOEL Within broken circle bare-headed, cuirassed bust r. Rev. M.M.HOSPITALIS ET - S.S.HIERVSAL 1723. Within broken circle, richly ornamented, crowned arms of the Grand Master, quartered with those of the Order; in field, four stars. Fr. 27; Restelli-Sammut 134, 22 and pl. XLV, 4; Schembri 135, 1 and pl. 2, 5.
Rare. Good very fine
Provenance: Acquired in 1957 from M. De Mayo, Geneva.
Grand Master Antonio Manoel de Vilhena, 1722-1736.
The most exciting event of Vilhena’s reign was the discovery of a plot in 1722 by a freed Turkish slave to bring in an Ottoman invasion fleet that would be supported by a revolt of the numerous slaves on the island. Needless to say, it fizzled out. Vilhena’s reign was not only notable for the appearance for magnificent gold twelve and ten zecchini pieces, but also for the inauguration of a variety of large silver denominations, including Malta’s first crown, the 2 scudi piece.

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