On the 9th of April 1932, Rudolfo Ratto presented an extraordinary collection of coins and medals of the Knights of Malta for auction.
The owner was described as a ‘distinguished English collector’
It wasn’t until 1991 that Dr Busso Peus revealed that this was actually the collection of Canon H. Calleja Schembri, Chaplain of the Kings Own Malta Regiment.
This collection is probably one of the top three ever assembled, and please note the auctioneer’s favourite pieces.
My own are *surprise, surprise * the magnificent 4 Tarì s ;Two different 1552 Homedes, a beautiful Garzes, Vasconcellos and Adrien Wignacourt.
Other impressive silver coins are the 16 Tarì of Vilhena, 2 Tarì of Lascaris and an undated 3 Tarì of Alof de Wignacourt and many rare Carlini and Cinquini.
Gold coins include 2 L’Isle Adam Zecchini.
Copper includes 3 L’Isle Adam pieces as well as a Vasconcellos 3 Piccioli.
The list is endless.
The front cover shows a wax bozzetto for a Homedes uniface medal.
Another interesting fact is the missing Vilhena 12 Zecchini, listed as author’s collection in his opus Coins and Medals of the Knights of Malta.
I thank Mr Simon Sultana Harkins, a member of this group for the great job he did in restoring and rebinding this precious publication.
Malta Numismatic Society