PORTUGAL, Kingdom. Sancho I o Povoador (the Populator), 1185-1211. Morabitino (180 Dinheiros) (Gold, 29 mm, 3.92 g, 6 h), Coimbra. +SANCIVS REX PORTVGALI King on horseback right, holding sword in his right hand and cross-shaped scepter with his left; pellet in left field. Rev. +IN NE PTRIS I FILII SPS SCIA Quinas Cross of pointed shields with 7-pointed stars in the angles. Fb. 1. Gomes 04.10. Very rare and in exceptional condition. A superb, sharp and boldly struck piece of an astounding freshness and wonderful style, undoubtedly among the best known examples. Virtually as struck.
Sancho I was the son of and successor to Alfonso I 'o Conquistador' (the Conqueror), the founder of the independent Kingdom of Portugal. Unlike his father, who spent most of his reign fighting the Moors, Sancho dedicated his later years to the restructuring and repopulation of his small and poor Kingdom, leading to his nickname 'o Povoador' (the Populator). Among his many measures taken was the introduction of a national Portuguese currency, the Morabitino, a name derived from the Almoravid (Murabitid) dynasty, whose gold coins previously circulated in the area. This first Portuguese coin boasted the national sovereignty and Christian identity of the Kingdom: it shows Sancho leading a charge in battle on the obverse, whereas the reverse bears the Portuguese coat of arms, a cross formed out of five oval escutcheons which is commonly known as Quinas Cross (Portuguese for quincunx) and represents, as the legend goes, the defeat of five Kings of the Moors by Alfonso I in the Battle of Ourique in 1139 - the birth of the Kingdom of Portugal.