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Coat of arms of Portuguese Guinea, state title, value
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The 20 escudo coin is a circulation piece of Portuguese Guinea, a former Portuguese colony consisting of modern-day Guinea-Bissau. It was struck at the Lisbon Mint and introduced in 1952 by the Banco Nacional Ultramarino (English: "National Overseas Bank"), the entity responsible for issuing currency in Portugal's former colonial empire. Such a piece officially replaced the banknote of the same denomination upon its introduction. It had a legal tender face value equivalent to 20.00 Portuguese Guinean escudos prior to the introduction of the Guinea-Bissau peso in 1975. Upon demonetization, the coin could temporarily be traded for 20 pesos.
The piece is composed of .720 fine silver, weighs approximately 10 grams, and measures 30 millimeters in diameter. It has coin alignment and a reeded edge, and like most coins, is round in shape. The rims of the obverse and reverse are raised and decorated with a dentillated border.
Displayed in the middle of the obverse is the coat of arms of Portuguese Guinea – which consists of an escutcheon containing the quinas of traditional Portuguese heraldry, a golden scepter of Portuguese king Afonso V (1432–1481), and numerous waves. This is superimposed over the Portuguese armillary sphere, above which are five castles. At the time, a scroll bearing "PROVÍN. PORTUGUESA DE GUINÉ" (English: "Portuguese Province of Guinea) typically appeared on the arms as well, but was omitted from the coin. Printed clockwise above the piece's depiction of the arms is the Portuguese word "GUINÉ", which translates as "Guinea". The face value is written in the opposite direction along the coin's lower boundary, written as "2000" with a cifrão representing a decimal point. Flanking the coat of arms to the left and right are two large rosettes, which themselves are situated between two smaller rosettes, one above and the other below. Appearing the center of the reverse is an emblem associated with the Portuguese Empire, which consists of the coat of arms of Portugal, with the quinas, seven castles, and armillary sphere, superimposing a rendition of the cross of the Order of Christ. Inscribed in a clockwise direction from the lower left to right peripheries of the piece, partially encircling the emblem, is the legend "REPÚBLICA · PORTUGUESA", which translates as "Portuguese Republic" and identifies the owner of the issuing colony. The remainder of the rim is occupied by the Gregorian date "1952", which is engraved in a counterclockwise direction, and is separated from the aforementioned legend by two small rosettes.
A total of approximately 750,000 business strikes of the Portuguese Guinean 20 escudo coin were struck, along with a small number of silver patterns. In many coin catalogs, including the popular Standard Catalog of World Coins, the piece is listed under "Guinea-Bissau".
- Numismatic Guaranty Corporation – 1952 Guinea-Bissau 20 Escudos, KM# 11 • 1952 Guinea-Bissau 20 Escudos, KM# Pr11
- Numista – 20 Escudos (Guinea-Bissau; 1952) (English) (French)
- Flags of the World – Flags of Portuguese colonies
- Emblem of Guinea-Bissau on the English Wikipedia
- Portuguese Guinean escudo on the English Wikipedia