chapter  VI

Mdina Hoard of Muslim Coins: 1698

ByAnthony Luttrell

The Maltese scarcely admitted to a Muslim past but there were a few references to Arabic coins. In 1899 A. A. Caruana mentioned that the Library had two gold Muslim coins, the fate of the other three being obscure, but he mentioned four gold pieces then in the collection of S. L. Pisani. These coins often date long after the Muslim period in Malta; thus three "Saracenic" coins whose discovery was recorded and which were drawn by Themistocles Zammit between 1921 and 1924 are Ottoman or Mamluk. The discovery of a hoard of Arabic gold coins in 1698 was an outstanding event in the history of Maltese numismatics if only because the coins and their discovery were so fully recorded. Given their Christian markings, these were probably Norman coins from twelfth-century Sicily. One piece from the Mdina Hoard seems to have survived in Malta, but Maltese collections also contained coins from other sources many of them probably outside the island.