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CNG Feature Auction 115

Lot nuber 911

MALTA, Order of Knights of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (Knights of Malta). Juan de Homedes y Coscón. Grandmaster, 1536-1553. AR Tarì (22mm, 2.82 g, 10h). Fort St. Angelo (Birgu) mint.

CNG Feature Auction 115
Lot: 911.
 Estimated: $ 1 000

World, Silver

Sold For $ 2 750. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Go to Live

MALTA, Order of Knights of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (Knights of Malta). Juan de Homedes y Coscón. Grandmaster, 1536-1553. AR Tarì (22mm, 2.82 g, 10h). Fort St. Angelo (Birgu) mint. Coat-of-arms / Agnus Dei standing left, head reverted, holding banner. Gatt 04-1T-16X21; Restelli & Sammut 24; Schembri 1. Rich cabinet toning. EF. Rare.

From the El Medina Collection. Ex Spink Numismatic Circular CVII.1 (February 1999), no. 419.


The Order of Knights of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, commonly known as the Knights Hospitaller, the Knights of Rhodes, or the Knights of Malta, was a medieval and early modern Roman Catholic military order. Headquartered in Jerusalem from its foundation in 1099 until the collapse of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1291. The order was then headquartered on the island of Rhodes from 1310 to 1522. From 1530, the Order was headquartered in Malta, until it was expelled from the island in 1798 by the French. As with its previous incarnation as the Knights of Rhodes, the Knights of Malta were grouped into eight langues, the eight main languages the knights spoke. Each of these langues included priories, balliwicks, and commanderies, reflecting the order's medieval religious and chivalric origins. The Grand Master governed with the assistance of a Council. Through pontifical charters, and their internationally recognized right to deploy as a military force on behalf of Christendom, the Knights became one of the most powerful and wealthiest of the crusading Orders.

In 1530, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V granted the islands of Malta and Gozo, as well as the city of Tripoli, to the Knights. In return, the Knights were required to provide an annual tribute of a single falcon. Known as the Tribute of the Maltese Falcon, it was to be paid each All Saints Day (1 November). This event so impressed the later American writer Dashiell Hammett that he used the falcon tribute as the subject of his 1930 mystery, The Maltese Falcon.

CNG is pleased to present an offering of coinage of the Knights of Malta from the El Medina Collection. Due to the wealth and virtual sovereignty of the order, they struck their own coinage, as well as employing issues from other nations, to fund their numerous building projects and military expeditions. During the late Middle Ages and until the 18th century, the Order patrolled the Mediterranean against the Ottoman Empire.

Little is known about Homedes’ early life, other than he came from Aragon, joined the Order while it was still in Rhodes, and participated in the defense of the Siege of Rhodes (1522). His career as Grandmaster is controversial. In 1551, the Ottomans attacked Gozo, which then was poorly fortified, capturing nearly all of the population there and enslaving them. The Order also lost Tripoli, which Homedes blamed on its military commander, Gaspard de Vallier (Vallier’s reputation was later rehabilitated under Jean Parisot de Valette). Nevertheless, Homedes recognized the necessity for fortifying Malta; he began the construction of Fort St. Michael and Fort St. Elmo.

The final winners of all CNG Feature Auction 115 lots will be determined during the live online sale that will be held on 16-17 September 2020. This lot is in Session 3, which begins 17 September 2020 at 9 AM ET.

Winning bids are subject to a 20% buyer's fee for bids placed on this website and 22.50% for all others.

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