The Central Bank of Malta has issued two collector coins depicting the Auberge de Bavière. This is the fifth and final in the bank’s series of numismatic coins on surviving auberges of the Knights of St John. These structures are unique to Malta and share an interesting history with the Order of the Knights of St. John, one of the most famous Roman Catholic military orders of the Middle Ages, founded around 1048.
The men of this order, who swore allegiance to St. John and were regarded as chivalrous Knights, often found themselves far from their native homelands, and would probably have felt homesick without their hostels, or auberges, in Malta. Each of the eight European territories present in the Order of St. John—the so-called langues (languages or peoples)—built their own auberge, which served as accommodation for its members; pilgrims and visitors from their home country were also welcome. Moreover, the hostels were used for meetings, dining, and other social activities. After the foundation of Valletta in 1566, the Order had to move their auberges to the new city. Therefore, new hostels had to be constructed for all langues except the English one, which was forced to disband due to the reformation of 1534 and the eventual excommunication of King Henry VIII from the Catholic Church in 1538. The Maltese architect Gerolamo Cassar (c.1520 – 1592) was commissioned to design the seven auberges. Palazzo Carnerio, known today as the Auberge de Bavière (Bavaria), was commissioned in 1696 by the Portuguese knight Gaspare Carnerio. This palace, however, was designed by Carlo Gimach (1651 – 1730), one of the most interesting and colorful figures in the history of Maltese art. Palazzo Carnerio was purchased for the use of the Anglo-Bavarian Langue, which had been set up in 1782 during the rule of Grand Master De Rohan. During the First World War, the Auberge de Bavière was converted into a hospital and was later used as a school. Today, it houses the Government Property Department.The coins, struck by the Royal Belgian Mint, include both a gold piece with a face value of €15 and a silver coin valued at €10. The obverse of the coins shows the emblem or cross of Malta with the year of issue below. The reverse features the façade of the Auberge de Bavière as designed by engraver Noel Galea Bason.
|10 €URO||.925 silver||18.7 grams||33 mm.||Proof||2500 pieces|
|15 €URO||.999 Gold||1.25 Grams||14 mm.||Proof||1000 pieces|
The coins became available on July 15 and may be purchased from the Malta Coins Distribution Centre counter at the main building of the Central Bank of Malta, or by completing the order form here. For more information, the public is kindly requested to contact the Bank’s Malta Coins Distribution Centre or by calling +356 2550 6006/7/8. You can also visit their website. Information is offered in English & Maltese, with international orders dispatched where applicable.
Of the eight original Auberge’s built, only five remain: Auberge D’Allemagne was demolished to make room for the Anglican Cathedral of St Paul; Auberge D’Auvergne was demolished during World War II and its site was now houses Law Courts; Auberge De France was demolished during World War II and has been replaced by the Worker’s Memorial Building; Auberge De Castille et Leon, by far the most magnificent of the eight, today houses the Office of the Prime Minister; Auberge D’Aragon, opposite the former Auberge D’Allemagne, today houses the Ministry for Home Affairs; Auberge D’Italie now houses the Malta Tourism Authority, having housed the Law Courts in former times; Auberge De Provence is now the home of the National Museums of Archaeology; Auberge De Baviere houses the main offices of the GPD, having been a primary school in former times.