Portugal - Henrique I (1578-1580) - Gold - 500 Reais; +HENRICVS:I:D:G:REX:PORTV / IN:HOC:SIGNO:VINCES (5 points forming a cross at beginning of reverse's legend); Extremely Rare; G.04.02.var, JS He.1; 3.81 g ; VF+
During the brief reign, of only 17 months, of the Cardinal-King D. Henrique, the issue of gold coins followed the ordinances of the reign of D. Sebastião. In fact, gold coins maintained the same characteristics until the monetary reform of D. Filipe I, as set out in the law of 18 February 1584, which abolished the minting of the 500 Reais, resumed manufacture of the Cruzado (400 Reais) and created two new golden coins, the 2 and 4 Cruzados, worth 800 and 1600 Reais, respectively. The serious political, social and economic situation into which the country had been plunged as a result of the disaster at Alcácer Quibir, and the coming to power of a monarch who could not guarantee an heir to the Crown, meant that the short reign of D. Henrique, acclaimed king on 28 August 1578, was dominated by issues regarding the succession to the throne and the rescue of the prisoners of war held by the enemies. It is therefore understandable that the new king did not express much concern about monetary issues and hence no official provisions related to the manufacture and management of money are known. The issuing of money was limited to minting coins with the same law and weight as his predecessor. The Mint reused dies from the time of King D. Sebastião, with the necessary corrections regarding the new King's title. After the death of D. Henrique, on 30 January 1580, the 500 Reais remained the only gold coin struck in Portugal until Filipe I reformed the monetary system in 1584, while the minting in Angra in 1582 and 1583 of 1000 Reais in the name of Dom António, prior of Crato, had a negligible impact on the amount of gold coinage.
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