header Notes Collection

1 Shilling 1942, Malta

in Krause book Number: 15
Years of issue: 17.11.1942
Edition: 100000
Signatures: Treasurer: Mr. Edgar Cuschieri
Serie: No Serie
Specimen of: 20.11.1918
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 120 х 70
Printer: TDLR (Thomas de la Rue & Company), London

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1 Shilling 1942




1 Shilling 1942

HM The King George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert, 3 June 1865, Marlborough House, London - 20 January 1936, Sandringham House, Norfolk, United Kingdom) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 until his death.

George was a grandson of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and the first cousin of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. From 1877 to 1891, he served in the Royal Navy. On the death of Victoria in 1901, George's father became King Edward VII, and George was made Prince of Wales. On his father's death in 1910, he succeeded as King-Emperor of the British Empire. He was the only Emperor of India to be present at his own Delhi Durbar.

As a result of the First World War (1914-18), most other European empires fell while the British Empire expanded to its greatest effective extent. In 1917, George became the first monarch of the House of Windsor, which he renamed from the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha as a result of anti-German public sentiment. His reign saw the rise of socialism, communism, fascism, Irish republicanism, and the Indian independence movement, all of which radically changed the political landscape. The Parliament Act 1911 established the supremacy of the elected British House of Commons over the unelected House of Lords. In 1924 he appointed the first Labour ministry and in 1931 the Statute of Westminster recognised the dominions of the Empire as separate, independent states within the Commonwealth of Nations. He was plagued by illness throughout much of his later reign and at his death was succeeded by his eldest son, Edward VIII.

Red overprint - 1 Shilling.

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


1 Shilling 1942

The Maltese cross, in Italy also known as the Amalfi cross, is the cross symbol associated with the Knights Hospitaller (the Knights of Malta) and by extension with the island of Malta. The cross is eight-pointed and has the form of four "V"-shaped elements, each joining the others at its vertex, leaving the other two tips spread outward symmetrically. Its design is based on crosses used since the First Crusade. It is also the modern symbol of Amalfi, a small Italian republic of the XI century.

In the mid XVI century, when the Knights were at Malta, the familiar design now known as the "Maltese Cross" became associated with the island. The first evidence for Maltese Cross on Malta appears on the 2 Tarì and 4 Tarì Copper coins of the Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Vallette (Grand Master 1557-1568). The 2 and 4 Tarì Copper coins are dated 1567. This provides a date for the introduction of the Maltese Cross.

Denominations in numerals are on the right side and in top left corner. In center in words.


At the close of World War I, the wartime prosperity which had been stimulated by Allied naval activity sharply diminished. Inflation brought about hoarding of silver coin to the point where it became difficult to carry on normal day-to-day commerce. As a precautionary measure, the Treasury in London agreed, in September 1918, that a supply of two and five shilling notes be prepared and sent to Malta to alleviate the coin shortage. £10,000 in 2 shilling notes and £20,000 in 5 shillings were printed by the firm of Thomas De La Rue. The plan was to introduce the small change notes through the banks, post office and dockyards.

As things worked out, the precautionary action proved unnecessary and the notes were never released into circulation. Surviving examples are few in number. All lack authenticating signatures.

An emergency issue of bank notes, authorized by the Ordnance of 20 November, 1918, consisted of 2 and 5 shilling notes. They were authorized to offset an anticipated coinage shortage which never fully developed. The notes were never issued, consequentially few examples remain. Those that survived do not have signatures. The notes were the product of the printing firm of Thomas De la Rue, in London.

In 1942, during World War II, stocks of the 2 shilling note were retrieved from storage, overprinted as 1 shilling notes, and placed into circulation.

During the height of the Siege of Malta, an acute shortage of one shilling coins occurred. Since no one shilling notes had been initially authorized under the Paper Currency Ordnance of 1939, the government amended the act to include this denomination. Immediate delivery of the notes from England was impossible as the notes had yet to be printed. Fortunately, the old stock of 1918 two shilling notes, which had never been issued, had not been destroyed and were already available on the island.

Two shilling notes were overprinted as 1 shilling on the obverse and reverse, declared legal tender on 17 November 1942, and immediately placed into circulation. They were to circulate until the new 1 shilling notes could be printed in London and delivered to Malta. After the notes became available in April 1943, stocks of 1 shilling notes began to arrive as more ships entered Valletta due to the lifting of the siege. The old overprinted notes were then withdrawn, having served their purpose.

This particular note is quite interesting. Note the series A/1 low serial number of this note (A/1 00018). Now note the serial number on the illustration of the original 2 shilling note dated 1918: (A/1 00003). The two notes are only fifteen numbers apart!

Considering that at least 85,000 of these notes were issued, the extremely low number is, in itself, quite remarkable. Note number “18” begs the question: “At what point did serialization begin?” Was it with number “4”?, “5”?, “15”? Of course, we will probably never know; however the exercise does tell us something about the scarcity of the non-overprinted notes. It would appear that after overprinting, no more than seventeen notes remained in their original form.