header Notes Collection

1 Lira 1979, Malta

in Krause book Number: 34a
Years of issue: 30.03.1979 - 17.03.1986
Signatures: Deputat Gvernatur: Mr. Lino Spiteri
Serie: Third Series
Specimen of: 30.03.1979
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 137 х 69
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.

1 Lira 1979




Allegorical head of Malta - Melita.


1 Lira 1979

In lower left corner is the band with inscription "Ghall-Gid tal-Maltin Gieh ir-Repubblika".

In top left corner is the map of Malta.


Centered is Gardjola Watch Tower in Senglea, Malta.

The Gardjola, made in 1565, coming from the Italian guardare - (to look at) in stone are carved the coat of arms of Claude de la Sengle plus an eye and an ear. This meant that the guard on watch had to be all eyes and ears.

Senglea (L-Isla) is a fortified city in the east of Malta, mainly in the Grand Harbour area. It is one of the Three Cities in the east of Malta, the other two being Cospicua and Vittoriosa, and has a population of slightly below three thousand people. The city is also called Civitas Invicta, because it managed to resist the Ottoman invasion at the Great Siege of 1565. The proper name is Senglea since the grandmaster who built it, Claude De La Sengle, gave this city a part of his name.


Maltese coat of arms is in top right corner.

This coat of arms was adopted on the 11 July 1975, seven months after Malta became a republic. It showed a coastal scene with the rising sun, a traditional Maltese boat, a shovel and a pitchfork, and an Opuntia. All of these symbols are somewhat connected to Malta. Underneath the image the then new name of the state "Repubblika Ta' Malta" (Republic of Malta) was written. This coat of arms was controversial and it was replaced by the current coat of arms soon after the Nationalist Party won the 1987 election.

A dgħajsa (pronounced dysa in Maltese) is a traditional water taxi from Malta. The design of the Dghajsa, like that of another Maltese boat, the luzzu, is believed to date back at least to the Phoenician times. It was mainly used in the area of the Grand Harbour, to carry passengers and small baggage from ships to shore. It was usually propelled by one man standing, facing forward, and pushing on two oars. The high stem and stern pieces seem to be mainly ornamental but they are useful in handling the boat and in the boarding and disembarking of passengers. The decorative symbols vary from boat to boat. Nowadays Dghajjes are no longer used as water taxis but as tourist attractions. They are sometimes motorized with diesel engines. The Dghajsa is one of the symbols of Malta and it appeared on the coat of arms of Malta from 1975 to 1988.

Opuntia, also known as nopales or paddle cactus, is a genus in the cactus family, Cactaceae. They are found in the Mediterranean region of Northern Africa, especially in the most northern nation of Africa, Tunisia, where they grow all over the countryside, and southern Europe, especially on the island nation of Malta, where they grow all over the islands, in the south-east of Spain, and can be found in enormous numbers in parts of South Africa, where it was introduced from South America. On the island of Malta, from the fruit of the paddle cactus, is the liqueur produced (Ambrosia Bajtra 21% vol.), which is the national alcoholic beverage.

Pitchfork and shovel on the shore are the symbol of agriculture.

The eye of god Osiris, painted on the bow, has a particular importance. It is considered here as a symbol of happiness.

Denominations in numerals are in all corners. Centered in words.


1 Lira 1979

Polytechnic Polytechnic

New Polytechnic (known also as the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology) building, build in 1968, in Msida.

Excerpt from an article in a Maltese newspaper from December 2013:

"50 years of engineering degree courses in Malta.

Imagine a university where students have no access to the Internet. Where no one has a computer, or even an electronic calculator and has to perform complex calculations using a contraption known as a slide rule. Or where parking at the University is not a problem as students do not have cars. That was exactly the situation 50 years ago in 1963, when the University opened its doors to the first 11 students to study for an Engineering degree, nine of whom graduated in 1966.

Polytechnic Polytechnic

The early 1960s were a period of turmoil in Maltese history, culminating in Malta becoming independent of Great Britain in 1964. The economy had to change from one based on the needs of the British armed forces to one based on industry and tourism.

The colonial government of the time sowed the seeds of the Engineering degree course in its Development Plan for the Maltese Islands 1959-1964, which, among other things, proposed the building of a polytechnic, later given the official name of the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology. Funds were obtained from the Colonial Welfare and Development Fund and UNESCO, and the building at Msida, now housing the Junior College, was built. Here the degree course in Electrical, Mechanical and Civil Engineering was launched in 1963, with UNESCO providing expatriate specialist staff.

Following the Second World War, the Library and support structures were strengthened. The Evans Laboratories were opened in 1959 to house the Faculty of Science near the old hospital of the Knights in Valletta and a new Medical School building near St Luke's Hospital in Guardamangia was opened in 1968. At the same time, the new campus at Msida was inaugurated.

The Faculty of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (now, the Faculty of Engineering) and the Faculty of Education became part of the University when the former Polytechnic (known also as the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology) was incorporated with it." (

Msida or Imsida is a harbour town in Malta. The town is located just west of Valletta on the northeast coast of Malta. The town enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry, sunny summers and short, cool winters. The University of Malta is situated in a part of Msida known as Tal-Qroqq which rests on higher ground.

Cheirolophus crassifolius

In lower left corner is Cheirolophus crassifolius, the Maltese Centaury, Maltese Rock-centaury or Widnet il-Baħar. It is a species of flowering plant in the Asteraceae family. It is endemic to Malta, where it has been the national plant of Malta since 1973. Its natural habitats are cliffs and coastal valleys . It is threatened by habitat loss.

It is scarce but widespread in the wild on the western cliffs of Malta, rare on the southern cliffs of Gozo, but frequent as a cultivated species in roundabouts. It is quite common in the limits of Wied Babu in the south east of Malta.

It was first described by Stefano Zerafa, around 1830, as the only species of the monotypic genus Palaeocyanus. However, around the year 2000, it was transferred to Cheirolophus, in the light of genetic studies done in that year. The name Cheirolophus means red head, while crassifolius mean thick leaves. The leaves are succulent and spoon shaped. The variety serratifolia (serrated leaves) is very rare, and only known from Gozo. This species is cultivated due to its national importance.


In top right 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 left and lower right corners, also lower, in center. In words lower, on left side.


The third series, called the CBM 3rd series, was issued on 30 March 1979, and has kept the same denominations of £M1, £M5 and £M10 as the previous one.

Huge thanks to Mr. Oliver Mamo - Director National Bibliographic Office, Malta Libraries for provided information about the Polytechnic building on reverse of banknote.

Also many thanks to Mrs. Michelle Buhagiar

- Administration Officer of National Library of Malta for provided information (and photo) about Junior college.