A Penny for Saint’Anthony
Tradition has it that following the destruction of the Church of Saint Anthony in the earthquake of 1755, the entire population of Lisbon got involved in its reconstruction through donations, collections and alms. The children of the city were also keen to participate, erecting small altars or “thrones” outside their houses during the June festivities to ask passers-by for “a penny for Saint’Anthony.
Often these coins were pierced and used as amulets, sewn into the lining of men’s jackets or placed next to their keys, worn as medallions by ladies on threads or bracelets, or placed in children’s cradles, according to an ancestral tradition dating back to Roman Times.
This tradition that is evoked by the coin issue of the Museum of Lisbon – Saint Anthony.