7 Portuguese billon or copper coins, ~1400s?

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by The Eidolon, Jan 22, 2021.

  1. The Eidolon

    The Eidolon Well-Known Member

    I got these 7 unattributed small coppers as a lot recently as a lot for about $20.
    The proprietor thought they might be from Spain, but I'm guessing Portugal from the castle with 3 towers on the front and shield with 9 symbols on the back. Here's a similar example from Numista. Is there a good way to try to attribute these? They don't seem to be dated and it's hard to make out the inscriptions. I don't have any specialty reference books for this area, and my Krause guides start at 1600. I'm assuming 1400-1500s as a likely date and copper or billon composition. Most are about 16~18 mm diameter except the bottom one which is 20 mm. Thanks!
    ob.jpg rev.jpg
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  3. Bradley Trotter

    Bradley Trotter Well-Known Member

    @The Eidolon

    These coins seem to be quite the puzzle. However, if I were in your position, I'd probably stick to Numista and browse sold auction listings as well. Regardless, I'd say your best bet is to probably compare your coins with the various entries for Portuguese ceitils on Numista.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021
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  4. Oldhoopster

    Oldhoopster It seemed like a good idea at the time.

    s-l300.jpg I've had some success using Ekland's booklets on early copper coins, but I don't have the Portugal edition.

    These are old reprints from articles in the Numismatist. Not the greatest pics, but I think they're relatively cheap

    If you can make out enough of the inscription, try plugging it into the search engine at MA Shops. I've used that trick before to ID medieval coins
  5. Bardolph

    Bardolph Member

    I think these are all Portuguese cetils, worth one sixth of a silver real, reign of King Alfonso V (1438 to 1481)- but better individual photos would help
  6. The Eidolon

    The Eidolon Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the advice. I had to wait for better light to get individual photos, but here they are. I've tried to keep them in the same order as before.
    1: 2.16 g, 19 mm
    2: 1.44 g, 18 mm
    3: 1.03 g, 19 mm
    4: 1.51 g, 18 mm
  7. The Eidolon

    The Eidolon Well-Known Member

    And the last three:
    5: 0.87 g, 18 mm
    6: 1.35 g, 18 mm
    7: 1.89 g, 20 mm
    talerman likes this.
  8. Oldhoopster

    Oldhoopster It seemed like a good idea at the time.

    I've used this for early Spanish. If I recall, there isn't that much on Portugal. I have a copy but won't have access for a couple days.

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  9. Bardolph

    Bardolph Member

    Yes! The last six are definitely Portuguese cetils from the reign. of Alfonso V. There are a number of varieties but they all consist in a castle with waves at the foot.
    These coins also circulated quite widely in northern Spain and were known as cetils.
    In portuguese, they are called ceitils. You can find some of them on Numista Portugal.

    I need to check out coin No 1, but it is probably a cetil too
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  10. jtlartgallery

    jtlartgallery Member

    I think that with the improved photos that some of the coins can be attributed to Emmanuel 1 1495-1521 MANU is clear in the legends
    The Eidolon likes this.
  11. The Eidolon

    The Eidolon Well-Known Member

    Yes, thanks @jtlartgallery, I can se "MANV" or part of it on some of them.
    The second one is one of the clearest. I can make out part of "RP ET" on the obverse and "MANV... GVINEE" on the reverse. The castle has a full wall and the towers have segments and windows, which I think is Group 5. I was embarrassed by the low quality of these, but it looks like most of the ones on Numista are comparable. I'll see what I can make out on the others.

    Edit: Trying to figure out the abbreviations on the legend;
    EMANVEL · R · P .ET · A · D · GVINEE
    Is probably Manuel I, King of Portugal and Algarve, Lord of Guinea
    Reverse: EMANVEL · R · P .ET · A
    Manuel I, King of Portugal and Algarve
    Where Algarve is the southern part of Portugal reconquered from the Moors (Al-Gharb) in 1294, and Guinea is the Portuguese colony in Africa.
    2a.JPG 2b.JPG
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021
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