Yesterday (1 February) was the last day that the Maltese lira, cent and mil coins could be exchanged into euro. These coins had ceased to be legal tender on 31 January 2008, but the law allowed a further period of two years within which the coins could be redeemed. Over the past six weeks the Bank had repeatedly reminded the public, through adverts in the local media, of the deadline for exchanging these coins. It is estimated that over four thousand persons called at the Bank during January alone. The amounts presented at the Bank’s counters varied from a few cents for the smallest transactions recorded to larger ones exceeding a thousand lira in value and tens of thousands of coins.
After the completion of the conversion exercise, the value of unredeemed coins amounts to Lm11.12 million, equivalent to €25.91 million. Although it cannot be ascertained why so many coins were not returned, it must be assumed that a large proportion would have been exported by tourists visiting Malta over the years. The returned coins, amounting to around 94 million pieces and weighing some 400 tonnes, will be sold to specialised companies engaged in recycling the metal content. More details of Lm coin circulation figures are shown in the table.
The Central Bank of Malta would like to thank the general public and the media for their co-operation, particularly during the past few months.
The Bank would like to remind the public that Maltese lira banknotes can continue to be exchanged at its Annexe at St James’s Counterguard, Valletta until 31 January 2018.