Brazil 1722-R 4000 reis

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Heritage sale 3010, lot 20277
photo courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries

This specimen was lot 20277 in Heritage sale 3010 (Boston, August 2010), where it sold for $2,875. The catalog description[1] noted, "João V gold 4000 Reis 1722R, AU58 NGC, meticulously sharp details with glowing mint luster, a superior example with splendid eye appeal."

This type was struck between 1714 and 1727 in Rio and Bahia as part of the "moeda provincial" series. While the 4000 réis is relatively available, its fractions (2000 réis and 1000 réis) are much scarcer. The weight of the 4000 réis was lowered from 10.75 g to 8.07 g in 1749; consequently, the earlier issues are quite scarce.

The gold coinage of Brazil presents problems which have not been resolved to this author's satisfaction. The early series of "moedas provinciales" (1000, 2000 and 4000 réis struck 1714-27) were struck to the standard of 12,600 réis/troy oz. The later series of "moedas provinciales" (1000, 2000 and 4000 réis struck 1749-1822) were struck to the standard of 16,800 réis/troy oz, which seems a straightforward reduction of 25% of the value of the gold réis. However, simultaneous with the "moedas provinciales" were struck the "moedas luso-brasileiras" (800, 1600, 3200, 6400 and 12800 réis struck 1727-1822) to the standard of 15,120 réis/troy oz. This standard values the gold réis 20% lower than the 1714-27 standard and matched the standard used in Portugal itself (see the 4 escudos or peça, struck in Portugal 1722-1835, which matches the 6400 réis of Brazil). How did merchants of the time cope with multiple weight standards for the same currency?

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: 10.75 g, .917 fine gold, .317 troy oz AGW.

Catalog reference: KM 102, Friedberg 30.

Source:

  • Michael, Thomas, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2016.
  • Friedberg, Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg, Gold Coins of the World, From Ancient Times to the Present, 7th ed., Clifton, NJ: Coin and Currency Institute, 2003.
  • Pimentel, Alvaro Mendes, Catálogo de Moedas Brasileiras de 1643 a 1962, 9a Ed., Rio de Janeiro, 1962.
  • [1]Tucker, Warren, Scott Cordry and John Kraljevich, Heritage Sale 3010: World Coins, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2010.

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