Obverse. Photo © NumisCorner.com
  • 20 Centavos 1962, KM# 16.1, Sao Tome and Principe
  • 20 Centavos 1962, KM# 16.1, Sao Tome and Principe

São Tomé and Príncipe islands were a colony of the Portuguese Empire from its discovery in 1470 until 1975, when independence was granted by Portugal. The Portuguese explorers João de Santarém and Pêro Escobar discovered the islands around 1470, which they found uninhabited. The São Tomé island was named by the Portuguese in honor of Saint Thomas, as they discovered the island on his feast day, while the Príncipe island (Prince's island) was named in honor of Afonso, Prince of Portugal, his father's favorite.

The Carnation Revolution in 1974 ended the Estado Novo dictatorship in Portugal and initiated a process of decolonization of the Portuguese colonies in Africa. On 12 July 1975, the new Portuguese regime granted independence to São Tomé and Príncipe.


Depicts the coat of arms (1951-1975), name of country above, date below.

The coats of arms of the Portuguese colonies were introduced in 1935. All arms were of the same model: divided vertically in such a way that two sub-shields are formed. The dexter was white with five small blue shields each bearing five white discs (i.e. Cinco Quinas, Five Quinas representing the motherland). The sinister represented the colony. The colonial sub-shields for São Tomé and Príncipe depicted a mill-wheel with drops of water flying off. This was the personal symbol of king Alphonso V (1438-81), during whose reign the islands were discovered. In the base green and white waves to indicate the overseas location. To complete the badge, the arms were set upon a golden armillary sphere with a golden mural crown. The crown had 5 apparent towers in each tower charged an armillary sphere and in each space between towers charged Christ’s cross.



Denomination in the center.



20 Centavos

Portuguese Overseas Province
KM# 16.1
Material Bronze
Weight 2.5 g
Diameter 18 mm
Thickness -
Shape round
Alignment Coin
Casa da Moeda de Lisboa

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