Origin: Minted in Malacca (present day Malaysia), these tin 1 dinheiro coins were made during the reign of either João III or his grandson Sebastião I of Portugal.
The Strait of Malacca has always had a strong association with piracy, due to its location making it a naturally important shipping route. Pirates had plenty of places to hide within its many coves and inlets, and the problem of piracy continued through the colonial reigns of the Portuguese, Dutch, and British.
A variety of tin-lead coins were made in Malacca during its time as a Portuguese colony. Coins attributed to João III depict a Cross of the Order of Christ with the letters “ISMA,” for “Ioannes, Lord of Malacca." Those of Sebastião I show three arrows dividing the letters, “BA”. The design both of these coins have in common is a crude depiction of an armillary sphere on the reverse.
The Armillary sphere was not only an early navigational tool used by explorers, it was also the symbol of the royal family of Portugal, as well as the country itself. This piece is a fantastic example of Portuguese Age of Discovery, archaeology, and numismatics.
As a safety warning, these items are made of a tin alloy that likely includes lead. Though lead can be handled safely, it is important to take proper precautions: mainly, avoid touching your face and wash your hands after handling these items.
Each includes a Certificate of Authenticity.
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