Portugal. Sancho I (1185-1211) AV Morabitino (180 Dinheiros). Coimbra mint. SANCIVS REX PORTVGAIIS, stylized figure of King charging to right on warhorse, holding sword and cross-tipped sceptre / + IN NE PTRIS I FILII SPS SCIA, cross of five shields with a star in each angle. Friedberg 1; Almeida, Basto & Piombino 1; Gomes S1 04/09. 3.69g, 28mm, 2h.
Mint State. Extremely Rare.
From a private German collection.
Sanchos I, Portugal's second monarch, was born in Coimbra in 1154, son and successor of King Alfonso I and his wife Maud of Savoy. In 1170 Sanchos was knighted by his father and became second in command in both administrative and military matters. The independence of Portugal declared in 1139 was still contested by the kings of León and Castile. A marriage alliance between Sanchos and Dulce of Aragon, the sister of King Alfonso II, in 1774 secured military assistance from the Crown of Aragon to contain the expansionism of León and Castile. Following the death of his father, Sanchos became king in 1185.
Sanchos dedicated much of his reign to political and administrative organisation of the new kingdom. Efforts to populate the remote northern Christian regions of Portugal earned Sanchos the nickname 'the Populator'. The one notable military campaign of the reign was the conquering of the southern town of Silves in 1189 from the Almohads with the aid of Northern European crusaders, for which Sanchos added 'King of Silves' to his titles. The victory was short lived however, as the territory was soon regained by the Almohads in 1191.
This exceptional morabitino is a remarkably rare example of the first gold coin of the kingdom of Portugal introduced by Sanchos during his reign. The new denomination was equal to the value of 180 silver dinheiros. The name morabitino was the nickname used by Christians in the Iberian Peninsula to describe the golden dinars struck by the Almoravids, which were similar in both metric and weight.