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Lot 731

Estimate: 2'500 CHF   |   Starting price: 2'500 CHF Price realized: 3'800 CHF
The Knights of St. John in Malta. Emmanuel Pinto, 68th Grand Master, 1741-1773. 4 Zecchini, undated (1741-1742). AV 13.06 g. F.EMMANVEL - PINTO M.M. Bare-headed, cuirassed bust l. Rev. HOSPI.ET.S. - SEP.HIER. Crowned arms of the Grand Master, quartered with those of the Order within ornate cartouche flanked by olive branches. Azzopardi, Malta 856; Fr. 492, 31; Restelli-Sammut 157, 4 and pl. LX, 3; Schembri 152, 4 and pl. 10, 3.
Rare. Extremely fine
Provenance: Auction Glendining & Co., London February 9, 1977, 232.
Grand Master Emmanuel Pinto, 1741-1773.
Emmanuel Pinto was, perhaps the proudest and grandest of all the Grand Masters: he built superb buildings and made his court a most elegant and prestigious one, though the Order was nearly two million scudi in debt when he died. This was, however, not as bad as it seemed since the economy of Malta was extremely prosperous at this period. The only major threats to Malta’s tranquility included a foiled plot by Turkish slaves to take over the island in 1748; and a possible attack by the Turks in 1760, after the Christian slaves who manned a major Turkish warship overwhelmed their guards and sailed it off to Malta. In the latter case, however, the attack was forestalled when Louis XV bought the ship and then, magnanimously, donated it back to the Ottoman navy! Pinto’s coinage is rather complicated. Despuig had earlier so misvalued the zecchino vis-à-vis other European gold coinages and silver that huge numbers of Maltese zecchini were melted down. Pinto tried to re-establish the zecchino system soon after he came to the throne but this failed – he also produced some limited issues of silver at that time as well. In the mid 1750s he issued gold 10 and 5 scudi pieces accompanied by 30 and 15 tari in silver, made from melted plate. A final group of gold 10 and 20 scudi pieces and very rare silver 2 scudi pieces were coined in the mid 1760s. In this catalogue Pinto’s coinage has been divided into these three groups.

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