Of all the world’s large bodies of water, the Mediterranean Sea has probably had a more profound influence on humanity than any other. The backyard of such massively influential empires as the Greeks, Romans, Persians, Egyptians, and countless others, this almost totally surrounded sea has been the site of epoch making events over many millennia.
It isn’t just the land surrounding it that has been of great influence, but the shipping that has plied its trade or gone to war upon its waters. Great fleets have done battle and shaped the future of Europe and the world as a whole, with many individual ships entering history through their design or their actions. One such vessel is the Renaissance carrack, the Sant’ Anna, the pride of the Order of St. Johns, also known more popularly as the Knights Hospitaller. The Grand Master of the Order, Philippe Villiers de L’Isle Adam, was carried to Malta in 1530 aboard the vessel, which explains why it’s featured on this latest Maltese coin pair.
There’s more about this adventurous vessel further down, so let’s concentrate on the coin. Part of the Europa Star programme, which this year has Renaissance as its theme, the obverse is emblazoned with that series logo as its background, with the centre foreground filled with the coat-of-arms of Malta itself. A smaller version of the logo sits at the bottom. The reverse depicts an almost medieval style image of the Sant’ Anna itself. Maritime coins seem to be popular, and this looks to be a fine example of the genre – devoid of gimmickry, and relying purely on a classic style for its appeal.
Two variants are on offer. An ounce of sterling silver constitutes the more popular of the two, with a mintage coming capped at 2,500 pieces. At just 400 pieces in number, the 6.5 gram 22kt gold variant is the rarer of the two and carries fundamentally the same design. Both coins come boxed with a certificate of authenticity and are available now.