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Pre-Decimal Coins of the Kings and Queens of the Kingdom of Portugal

(1139-1836)

The pre-decimal coins of the Kingdom of Portugal present numerous issues when trying to arrange them into any sort of all-encompassing type of grouping. There are, first of all, a great number of denominations to consider. These denominations did not remain consistent, either, and were during different periods of time. There are the early Dinhiero, Mealha, and Morabitino issues struck during the time of the first Kings. The coinage expanded considerably during the reign of Ferdinand I (1367-1383) when he introduced such denominations as the Dobra-peterra, Dobra-gentil, Tornez, Barbuda, and the Real and fractions to name a few.

Under Edward or Duarte (1433-1438), these denominations gave way to ones like the Ceitil, Escudo, Cruzado, Espadim, etc. A short 50 years later, under John II (1481-1495), the Vintem and it's fractions appear.

Some of these latter names appear as later coinage; the Escudo, Cruzado, and Vintem in particular. The Escudo, in fact, re-emerged during the time of the Republic and was used as the basic monetary unit until the introduction of the Euro in 2002. Further complicating the later coinage, which we will consider to be that following the period of Spanish rule during the years 1580-1640, is the various names given to coins having the same value and vice versa. Examples of this are coins marked LXXX which were worth 80 Reis. Similar coins, also marked LXXX, were worth 100 Reis or a tostao. There is also the style of the coin itself being both milled and 'dump'

There will be two sets of pages, therefore, for the pre-Decimal coins of the Kingdom of Portugal. The first section begins in 1139 and consists of coins struck following the initial separation from Spain until the period of Spanish rule beginning in 1580. The second section will encompass the period starting with the second period of Spanish rule beginning in 1580 and then continuing to the time of Decimalization in 1836. Until more examples are scanned, the first section will consist of simply a sequential listing of coins by monarch.

  • Portuguese coins from 1139 to 1580
For the second section, the first categorization will be by metal type, the three groups being issues in gold, in silver, and in base metal. Within these three groups, the coins will be arranged by value with notes as to whether the denomination exists in other metals. The 20 and 40 Reis pieces exist both in silver and base. Coins like the 400 Reis or Cruzado were struck both in gold and silver.

  • Base coins (1580-1836)
  • Silver coins (1580-1836)
  • Gold coins (1580-1836)


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