A special exhibition of copper coins is currently running in Valletta at the Central Bank of Malta.

Not Copper but Trust traces the story and vicissitudes of the fiduciary copper coinage issued by the Order of St John in Malta, bringing together a comprehensive collection of these copper coins which were used in Malta from 1566 to 1827.

The building of Valletta in 1566 saw the introduction of a new type of coinage in Malta. To make up for a shortage of gold and silver, the Order of St John minted thousands of copper coins that were given an arbitrary value equal to silver. This ensured that the works on Valletta’s fortifications proceeded with the desired alacrity.

From their very nature, the fiduciary copper coins bore a value which greatly exceeded their intrinsic worth. Thus, the Latin inscription carried on these coins – non aes sed fides, not copper but trust – was very apt.

■ The exhibition is being held at the Central Bank of Malta’s Currency Museum in Castille Place in Valletta until Friday, November 25. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 4pm. Entrance is free. For more information, send an e-mail to museum@centralbankmalta.org.

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