Coins and Medals of Malta, the Property of an Officer Brother of the Order of St John

Date of Auction: 21st February 2018

Sold for £1,500

Estimate: £600 - £800

Jean de la Vallete, 4 Tarí, head of St John, 11.45g/5h (RS p.46, 44; Schembri p.44, 13). Nearly extremely fine, lightly toned, scarce £600-800

Footnote

Provenance: Bt Spink.

As patron Saint of the Order, St John the Baptist is depicted on many of the silver Maltese issues. The image of his head on a platter is a reference to the story of Salome, step-daughter of Herod Antipas, sub-king of Galilee. At a party to celebrate Herod’s birthday, her dancing pleased the king so much that he promised to give her anything she desired. On the advice of her mother, upon whose instructions John had been imprisoned, she is said to have declared “Bring me the head of John the Baptist on a platter”. Although appalled at the suggestion, Herod reluctantly agreed and had John executed