PARIS/LONDON. Special Bond for £100, signed but unnumbered. black on blue paper. A most unusual bond certificate, the only one we have ever seen from the medieval Catholic military Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, commonly known as the Knights Hospitaller, the Knights of Rhodos, the Knights of Malta, or the Order of Saint John. The organisation arose in the late 11th century In Jerusalem to provide care for the pilgrims coming to the Holy Land. During the First Crusade (1096-1099), the organisation became a military religious order under its own papalcharter, charged with the care and defense of the Holy Land. Following the conquest of the Holy Land by Islamic forces, the knights operated from Rhodes (1310-1522), over which they were sovereign, and later from Malta (1530-1798), where they administered a vassal state under the Spanish viceroy of Sicily. In 1823, the Council of the French Languages - a French state-backed and hosted faction of the Order of Malta - sought to raise through this bond issue in England sufficient money to restorea territorial base for the Order of Malta and aid the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire. This was to be achieved by issuing bonds in London for a total amount of £640,000 to form a mercenary army of demobilized British soldiers usingreadily available, cheap war surplus after the Napoleonic Wars. A deal transferring various islands to the Order of Malta, including Rhodes when captured, was struck with the Greek rebels. Ultimately, the attempt to raise money failed when details leaked to the press, leading to the French monarchy to withdraw its backing leading to the bankers refusing the loan. The bond we offer lists a lot of details, the names of various important members of the Order (e.g. Marquis de St. Croix Molay, Commaneur Bertrand Moleville, etc.) and clearly states it was to be issued "under the protection of his Majesty Louis XVIII, King of France & Navarre, & the other Christian Princes". Despite the failure of this venture, the Order continued its activities in England, and - omitting bits of its complex history - became, under Queen Victoria, a British royal of chivalry in 1888. Today, the order counts some 25,000 members worldwide and is best known for the health organisations it founded and continues to run such as the first aid organisation St John Ambulance and the St John Eye Hospital Group in Jerusalem. Other European countries too, have local chivalric orders that go back to the military KnighsHospitalier. They are all regrouped in the Alliance of the Orders of Saint John of Jerusalem. Very large format, with folds and large depiction of the coat-of-arm of the Order, defended by two knights. A great piece of history, and never before seen by us.
Themes: CITY & STATE BONDS, JUDAICA & ISRAEL
FRANCE, GREAT BRITAIN, GREECE
Startprice: € 2000