A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO MALTESE DECIMALISATION
Major worldwide news stories were the norm during the 60’s and 70’s. Things were happening and it wasn’t only Woodstock.
Following the 1964 Independence lead by the then Prime Minister Dr. G. Borg Olivier, many changes were to come about. The changes would not only be political but also legislative changes with regards to currency used in Malta.
13th December 1974 saw the birth of the Republic, with Sir Anthony Mamo at the helm as the first president of the Republic of Malta. In 1972 and in anticipation of this event Malta developed its own currency, the Lira Maltija or Malta Pound.
The 1972 Malta decimal coinage was based on the British decimal system and thus had similar denominations as well. These ran from the 50c (skorfina), 10c, 5c, 2c, 1c and the fractional 5 mils, 3 mils and 2 mils. This coinage was for circulation but also struck in Brilliant Uncirculated and also in Proof condition. Specimen coins of such have never been on the open market and am unsure if they exist. However there were ‘dummy’ coins issued in order for the public to get acquainted with the ‘new’ local circulation currency. These were identical coin blanks with an inscribed denomination.
10 mils were equivalent to 1 cent, and 100 cents equivalent to a pound. No coin was struck for circulation with a one pound denomination until 1986, however until then the paper pound sufficed.
In 1975 the introduction of the 25c took off as the coin commemorating the 1st Anniversary of the Birth of the Republic, and although it was issued in Proof and Brilliant Uncirculated condition, it was also issued for circulation. This was the first circulation coin showing the emblem of the Republic of Malta.
The second decimal coinage was struck in 1986, which had the ‘Luzzu’ emblem of the Republic on the obverse of the coin. This coinage was struck in denominations of Lm1, 50c, 25c, 10c, 5c, 2c and 1c and saw the abolishment of the fractional mils from circulation. The decimal set was struck by the Royal Mint in the UK and was an innovative currency to the Maltese population, not only because of its new design which saw the elimination of the UK popular octagonal coins, but also because Malta’s own identity was born on the circulation coinage bearing the emblem.
In 1991 a new currency design was struck. All denominations remained the same and although the complete series from Lm1 to 1c was struck in Brilliant Uncirculated and also in Proof, this coinage was struck for circulation. The reason behind this new design was of course the third and new Emblem of the Republic of Malta, the heraldic emblem that is still used to date.
From time to time the necessity for a coin re-strike occurred. The designs were kept the same save for a change in year. There were a total of 52 different re-strikes for circulation coins between 1972 and 2007.
With the official introduction of the Euro currency on the 1st January 2008, Malta issued a series of coin rolls, business starter packs, and public starter packs a month in advance. All 8 denominations ranging from 1c to €2 had the exclusive Malta design for the Maltese circulation coins: these are the Mnajdra Temple, the Maltese Cross and the Emblem of the Republic of Malta.