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Portugal Coins

Portugal Coins

Portugal is a country on the Atlantic coast of western Europe and forms the Iberian peninsula with Spain. The Banco de Portugal issues legal tender by the Portuguese Mint (Casa de Moeda) in the form of banknotes and coins that are meant for general circulation with high mintage and certain commemorative issues with a limited mintage. There is also a number of general circulation coins minted each year in a special manner called proofs that have sharper lines, more profound features, and sometimes have a mirror-like finish.

What are the different periods of coinage in Portugal?

Although Portugal currently mints currency with monetary values in euros (€), prior to the introduction of the euro in 1999, the escudo Portuguese was the basic monetary unit of Portugal and was broken into 100 centavos. The escudo replaced the real (reis, plural) in 1911 at 1 escudo = 1000 reis while the Portuguese reis of base metals, silver, and gold had served as the base unit of accounting since its introduction in 1430. The dinheiro had served prior to that time since the countrys inception in 1128. In 1836, the Portuguese monarchy abandoned the previous duodecimal monetary system (based on the highly divisible 12) and begun the fractionation of coinage strictly based on a decimal system (based on 10). This period extends to 1911, which marks the start of the Republic of Portugal (República Portuguesa).

What are some notable Portuguese coins?
  • The Dinheiro of Alfonso I of Aragon (1139 – 1185) struck in billon (an alloy of bronze and silver) bears a cross on the obverse with PORTVGALIS / REX SANCIV on the rim, and on the reverse are five shields arranged to form a cross.
  • The silver tornês from Dinis I (D. 1279 – 1325) equals 5 ½ soldados (12 dinheiros) and has similar features of the dinheiro with D REX PORTVGL on the rim.
  • The real branco of King João (D. 1385-1433) became the national unit of account, marking the start of the House of Aviz.
  • The gold cruzado of Afonso V (D. 1438-1481) was issued with a value of 400 reis to finance a crusade against the fall of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453.
What are the characteristics that determine a world coins value?
  • The dates showing the years they were made, also called the mint marks.
  • The quality of the coin or the grade as determined by a internationally recognized organization.
  • The rarity of the coin as determined by their mintage number and the number currently in existence.