Brazil 1790 640 reis

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Heritage sale 3009, lot 20453
image courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries
Heritage sale 3009, lot 20455
image courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries

These silver 640 réis were minted at the Lisbon mint for Brazil 1787-1795. Only the 1787 and 1793 are reasonably common. These coins would have traded in the 18th century as two-thirds of a Spanish dollar. In 1768 the weight of this denomination was lowered from 19.32 grams to 17.80 grams. Earlier silver 640 réis are known, starting in 1695. Many are priced very low in the SCWC but remain very hard to find. The first specimen was lot 20453 in Heritage sale 3009 (Chicago, April 2010), where it sold for $1,610. The catalog description[1] noted, "Maria I 640 Reis 1790, nearly VF, bold details on the reverse, scarce low crown variety. The 'low crown' is determined by the narrower base to the upper arches. Very scarce date and variety." The second specimen was lot 20455, which sold for $____; the catalog description[1] noted, "Maria I 640 Reis 1790 'High Crown', XF/AU with original reddish brown toning. Rare date in well above average condition."

Recorded mintage: 19,000 (both varieties).

Specification: 17.76 g, .917 fine silver, .523 troy oz ASW.

Catalog reference: first specimen: KM 222.1, Russo 352; second specimen: KM 222.3, Russo 367.


  • Krause, Chester L., and Colin R. Bruce II, Standard Catalog of World Coins: Spain, Portugal and the New World, Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2002.
  • Pimentel, Alvaro Mendes, Catálogo de Moedas Brasileiras de 1643 a 1962, 9a Ed., Rio de Janeiro, 1962.
  • Amato, Claudio, Irlei S. Neves and Arnaldo Russo, Livro das Moedas do Brasil, 12a ed. Sao Paulo, 2008.
  • Alberto Gomes and Francisco Antonio Magro, Moedas Portuguesas e do Território Que Hoje é Portugal: Catálogo das Moedas Cunhadas para o Continentes e Ilhas Adjacentes, para os Territórios do Ultramar e Grão-Mestres Portugueses da Ordem de Malta, 6ª Edição, Lisbon: Associação Numismática de Portugal, 2013.
  • [1]Tucker, Warren, and Scott Cordry, Heritage Signature Auction 3009: World Coins, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2010.

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