Brazil 1730-R 400 reis

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Heritage sale 3037, lot 31014
photo courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries
This specimen was lot 31014 in Heritage sale 3037 (New York, January 2015), where it sold for $14,153. The catalog description[1] noted,
"An Extremely Rare Type. João V gold 400 Reis (Cruzado Novo) 1730-R XF Clipped, Rio de Janeiro mint, A well detailed coin, with limited friction evidence yet slightly clipped and thus lightweight at 0.85 grams. The surfaces were unimpaired and remain attractive, resulting in a quite acceptable and engaging overall appearance for this significant rarity. This is indeed an incredibly elusive one-year type with only four specimens traced by the cataloger. It was also missing from many major collections of Brazilian coins publicly offered in the past two decades including the Sotheby's sales (Geneva 11/1987 and London 5/1996), the Eliasberg (ANR 4/2005) group and (incredibly!) our previous offerings of the RLM holdings in the past two years. The finest confirmed example by the cataloguer is the ex-Carlos Costa specimen (with the ex-Faistauer collection - Hess-Divo 1/1997, lot 20 - a close second) now impounded as part of the Espirito Santo bank collection presented in the lavish catalog printed in 2008. The ex-Costa specimen is plated herein as a highlight of that legendary group and the comment "Muito Rara", while the more available yet also very rare similar 400 Reis minted at the Vila Rica mint ("M" mintmark) is "only" listed as "Rara", an accurate comparative statement indeed! Only two public offerings of this type have been noted by the cataloguer in the past 20 years, both occurring coincidentally in 1997: the aforementioned ex-Faistauer coin, and the present example which was offered in that year as part of the legendary collection. Despite the indicated impairment, an eminently collectible specimen of this great rarity with a great pedigree, likely the only available specimen for years to come and worthy of strong attention. For comparison sake, we note the similarly impaired ex-RLM example of the 400 Reis 1725-M which is more available despite being very rare in its own right, as indicated previously: that elusive and important coin hammered at $9,000 despite being bent and damaged (Heritage Auctions 4/2013, lot 23234). We expect comparatively higher interest for the present offering. Ex-Norweb collection (Spink America 3/1997, lot 684). From The Santa Catarina Collection of Brazilian Gold Coins."
This type was struck in Minas Gerais 1725-26 and in Rio in 1730. There is a 1730 400 réis from Minas Gerais but it is the portrait type (Fr-61).

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: 0.89 g, .917 fine gold, .026 troy oz AGW.

Catalog reference: KM 144, Russo-153, Gomes-86.01 ("Rare"), Bentes-147.01, Prober-O276.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • [1]Bierrenbach, Cristiano, Warren Tucker and Scott Cordry, Heritage Signature Auction 3037, featuring the Empire, the Santa Catarina, the Law and the Santa Maria Collections, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2014.

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