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World Coin News – Malta Commemorates St. Marija Convoy and George Cross Award

Malta George Cross 10 Euro Silver coin - Operation Pedestal

By Central Bank of Malta ……
On 14 August 2017 the Central Bank of Malta and MaltaPost issued a joint numismatic product to mark the 75th anniversary of the award of the George Cross to Malta, in April 1942, and the arrival of the providential convoy code named ‘Pedestal‘ in August 1942. The product will consist of a silver coin and a silver foil stamp replica.

A ruthless bombing campaign by the Axis forces reached its peak during the months of March and April 1942. During the latter month alone 7,000 tons of bombs were dropped on Malta. The island’s heroic defense against insurmountable odds prompted King George VI to award the George Cross to Malta “to honour her brave people”.

Malta was almost completely isolated at the time and heroic and extremely costly efforts to resupply Malta were unsuccessful. In July 1942 it was decided to run a heavily escorted convoy from Gibraltar. The convoy, code named Pedestal, consisted of 13 merchant ships and the tanker Ohio, escorted by 44 warships including two battleships and three aircraft carriers. Only four merchant ships managed to arrive in Malta and on 15 August 1942, the feast day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, the heavily damaged Ohio, towed by two destroyers, limped into the Grand Harbour. Although it did not guarantee long-term salvation, Operation Pedestal, known locally as the ‘Santa Marija’ convoy, brought enough supplies to maintain Malta’s defenses and stave off surrender.

The coin, struck at the Royal Dutch Mint, shows the emblem of Malta and the year of issue 2017 on the obverse. On the reverse the coin depicts the tanker Ohio with a Royal Navy destroyer in the background. This pays tribute to the heroic sacrifice made by the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy to keep Malta supplied during the Second World War. The coin also depicts the George Cross – a tangible symbol which honors and perpetuates the bravery of the Maltese at the height of the Island’s wartime ordeal.

The coin, which can also be purchased on its own, has a face value of €10. It is struck in 0.925 silver, has a weight of 28.28 grams and a diameter of 38.61 mm. It is struck in proof quality and the mintage is limited to 2,000 coins. The coin was designed and engraved by Noel Galea Bason.

The silver replica stamp was also produced for MaltaPost by the Royal Dutch Mint and depicts the €3.00 postage stamp from the 75th Anniversary ‘Operation Pedestal’ stamp issue.

This joint product is available in a presentation case and is limited to 500 sets. Sets and coins may be purchased from the Malta Coin Centre (MCC) counter at the main building of the Central Bank of Malta, Castille Place, Valletta or the MCC e-shop. The price of the set is €92, while the price of the coin on its own is €60, both prices inclusive of VAT.

For further information, the public is kindly requested to contact the MCC via email or by calling (+356) 2550 6006/7/8.

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