The Central Bank of Malta has issued (30th April) two commemorative coins which pay tribute to Antonio Sciortino (1879 – 1947) one of Malta’s most well-known artists / sculptors of the 20th century. The coins are struck at the Royal Dutch Mint and are part of the EUROPA silver star series whose focus for 2012 is on European Artists. The coins will be available in gold and silver versions.
Antonio Sciortino studied at L’Istituto Reale di Belle Arti in Rome and spent much of his life there, eventually becoming Director of the British Academy of Arts. He was initially influenced by Rodin, with his best works reflecting this. Sciortino’s favorite medium was bronze, which he used with great sensitivity.
The obverse of both coins depict “Les Gavroches” (Street Urchins), Sciortino’s 1904 masterpiece based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel “Les Miserables”, a book that was banned by the Catholic Church at the time Sciortino completed this bronze statue. A bozzetto (sculptural model) of the statue was presented to Queen Elizabeth II when she visited Malta as a princess in 1951 and still forms part of the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace. The actual bronze statue was placed at the Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta. Following restoration in 2003, it was moved to the National Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta and a replica was placed where it had stood originally.
The obverse design, along with a depiction of “Les Gavroches” also includes the text “ANTONIO SCIORTINO” positioned above and to the left of the primary design with the coin’s denomination placed to the right and the year of issue “2012” just below the value. The insignia of the EUROPA series is placed just below the year. Twelve stars representing the EU encircle the design around the rim. The reverse design depicts the Maltese crest along with the text “MALTA” above the central design and the year of issue below.
The 10 EURO coin is struck in sterling silver with a weight of 28 grams and a diameter of 38.6 mm. A mintage of 10,000 pieces has been authorized.
The 50 EURO coin is struck in .916 gold (22 ct) with a weight of 6.5 grams and a diameter of 21 mm. The total mintage for the gold coin is limited to 2,000 pieces. Both coins are struck to proof quality.
For more information on this and other coins offered by the Central Bank of Malta, please visit their website at: http://www.centralbankmalta.org/site/currency2.asp