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20 Lira 1989, Malta

in Krause book Number: 44
Years of issue: 18.09.1989
Signatures: Gvernatur: Mr. Anthony P Galdes
Serie: Fifth Series
Specimen of: 18.09.1989
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 159 х 76
Printer: TDLR (Thomas de la Rue & Company), London

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

20 Lira 1989




Turreted head of Malta - Melita.


20 Lira 1989


The figure of Malta (Melita) holding a rudder, representing the island in control of her own destiny.

The woman's figure was originally the work of the well-known Maltese painter Edward Cauana Dingli, who drew it for a set of postage stamps issued in 1922 following the historical self-government Constitution of 1921.


Other features include: three doves, a design adopted from the commemorative stamp issue of 1964, when Malta became independent, and which symbolizes the nation's commitment to international peace.

The emblem of the United Nations, as a sign of Malta taking its rightful place among the other nations of the world; and three mosaic designs found in Roman remains, which testify that Malta became a self-governing municipium during the Roman period of Malta's history.


In top left corner is the Bank's of Malta coat of arms.

Heraldry is essentially a system of recognition by hereditary devices developed among the knights of mediaeval Christendom. The majority of the symbols employed in heraldry have their own technical terms with French and Latin used principally in the description.

The establishment of the Armorial Bearings and Supporters of the Central Bank of Malta was a lengthy process involving registration in the official records of the College of Arms in the United Kingdom. By authority delegated to them by the Sovereign since the fifteenth century, three officers of the College, that is, the Kings of Arms, grant arms in a document called Letters Patent.

The Armorial Bearings of the Bank were duly established by Letters Patent. A formal application, known as a Memorial, was lodged in 1969 with the Earl Marshal, the Duke of Norfolk, at the College of Arms. This was done through the Windsor Herald of Arms, acting on behalf of the Bank. This Memorial gave details of the Bank's constitution, its history and the law under which it was set up. Evidence of this was provided by the Central Bank of Malta Act 1967 and the Bank's Bye-Laws.

Once the Memorial had been submitted and agreement reached regarding the design, the Letters Patent were prepared on a large piece of vellum, or fine parchment, on which were shown the Royal Arms, the Arms of the College of Arms, and those of the Earl Marshal. The text of the Patent was hand engrossed, and contains a formal description of the Bank's Arms illuminated by hand. The document is officially signed and sealed by the King of Arms.


A preliminary sketch for the Armorial Bearings of the Bank was made by the well-known Maltese artist, Chevalier Emvin Cremona. The College suggested certain re-arrangements of the original design, and on the basis of these exchanges a final version was prepared and sent to the United Kingdom. It contained, in Latin, the motto, "Fiducia Fortis" - "In Confidence Strength," and "1968", the date of the Bank's foundation.

In designing the Armorial Bearings, the artist sought to capture an element which was not only original but also expressive of the spirit of Malta. The Bank's arms incorporate items then found in the official arms of Malta. These include the mural crown surmounting the crest - symbolic of Malta's historic role as a fortress; the Maltese national colours, red and white, on the shield; the George Cross, awarded to Malta for bravery in April 1942 by King George VI, and reproduced on the Bank's shield by authority of the Prime Minister of Malta; the dolphin on the head of the key, a fish known in classical Mediterranean literature and often appearing as a prime heraldic figure; and the laurel and palm branches, symbols of honour and peace, respectively, supporting the mural crown. The horizontal key on the shield is appropriate to the Armorial Bearings of the Bank, the governing financial institution in Malta and a key to economic progress and security.

The two supporting Knights of Malta are a unique feature. The granting of supporters to Armorial Bearings is a privilege allowed only to major institutions. In the Bank's case they have a very special significance. The Knights represent confidence and strength, the two virtues which are incorporated in the Bank's motto. They also symbolise some of the greatest pages in the Country's long military history, when for more than two-and-a-half centuries Malta was ruled by the Order of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem. The plumed helmet of a knight which surmounts the shield also has a special connection with Malta. It is modelled on one found on a monument in the sixteenth-century Co-Cathedral of St John in Valletta, built by the Knights.

The official copy of the Bank's Armorial Bearings contains colours reflecting Malta's historic past. The Knights on either side of the shield are of a steely blue colour. The feathers composing the plume on each helm on the Knights' heads are in red and white, while the blades, quillons and the pommel of the two-handed swords, together with the cords and tassels hanging from them are in gold. This is also the colour of the mural crown above the crest.

A black and white design of the Armorial Bearings was first used in the Bank's Annual Report for 1970. A library painting of the final version of the Armorial Bearings and Supporters was displayed at the official inauguration of the Bank on 13 February 1971. An embossed fibre-glass version in colour now hangs in the Bank's Board Room.

Denominations in numerals are in top right and lower left corners. In center in words.


20 Lira 1989

The Pigeons, again, are right of center.

Centered - Dr. Giorgio Borg Olivier showing Declaration of independence.

George Borġ Olivier

Malta’s Prime Minister Dr. George Borg Olivier with the Independence Document in his hands, 21 September 1964.

After the adoption of the Malta Independence Act of 1964 by the British Parliament and the approval of the new Maltese constitution by 54.5% of voters in a referendum, the State of Malta (Stat ta 'Malta) was formed on September 21, 1964 as a state - an independent constitutional monarchy with Elizabeth II as queen. Malta and heads of state. This date is still celebrated annually as Independence Day (Jum l-Indipendenza), Malta's national holiday. On December 1, 1964, Malta was admitted to the United Nations.

Giorgio Borg Olivier, GCPO KSS (Maltese: Ġorġ Borg Olivier) (5 July 1911 – 29 October 1980) was a Maltese statesman and leading politician. He twice served as Prime Minister of Malta (1950–55 and 1962-71) as the Leader of the Nationalist Party. He was also Leader of the Opposition between 1955-58, and again between 1971-77.

Borg Olivier was elected as one of the three Nationalist members of the Council of Government in 1939. In May 1940, when the leader of the Nationalist party, Enrico Mizzi, was first interned by the British and deported, Borg Olivier became interim leader. After his return, Mizzi made Borg Olivier his deputy. Rising to office as a protégé of Mizzi and Sir Ugo P. Mifsud, Borg Olivier believed in the economic and social development of Malta as a viable independent state and in the necessity of a mixed economy. During his premiership, he pursued corporatist policies to develop the tourism industry and construction as the engine of growth. Under his leadership, average living standards rose steadily as Malta began to decouple from a fortress economy purely dependent on the British military establishment.

Near the end of his rule as prime minister, his government was rocked by various political and personal scandals, which seemed to symbolise the moral decay of the Maltese political establishment. Resigning from Leader of the Nationalist Party in 1977, Borg Olivier retained his parliamentary seat until his death in 1980. He was succeeded as leader of the party by Eddie Fenech Adami.

tablet in Valletta malta

Right of Dr. George Borg Oliver - Plaque, in Valetta, that commemorates Malta's Independence, which translated, means: "The Maltese people rejoice with the victory of Independence of these islands, today September 21st, 1964." Above, on the plaque, is the coat of arms of Malta, in force at that time.

Please read about the dolphin on this coat of arms below!

dolphins dolphins

At the top of the banknote there is a strip showing stylized dolphins.

At first, I doubted whether they were dolphins, so I wrote a question to the Bank of Malta. I received the answer the next day. Many thanks to Kevin Cassar from the Bank of Malta. This is what he answered me:

"The creatures depicted on the banknote are indeed dolphins. However they are a heraldic representation of dolphins, so they are stylized in a particular way which is removed from realism. The dolphins in question were on the old Malta coat-of-arms which were used after Malta became an independent nation in 1964. In fact the central shield of the coat-of arms was supported by a dolphin on each side. The dolphins recall the fact that Malta is an island, i.e. surrounded by the sea and is located in the Mediterranean, where dolphins are present. Dolphins, in fact have been represented on currency since ancient times for example the Greek cities in Sicily used representations of dolphins on some coins.."

A broken chain is shown above Dr. George Borg Oliver, symbolizing Malta's independence from Britain.


On left side - The raising of the Maltese flag and the lowering of the flag of Great Britain at the inauguration of the Malta Independence Act, September 21, 1964.

Denominations in numerals are in lower left and top right corners, also lower. In center in words.


On 18 September 1989 the Bank issued a new set of currency notes, the fifth series. This coincided with the twenty fifth anniversary of Malta’s Independence. These banknotes, which had the same denominations as those of the fourth series, were enhanced with security features in 1994.