Brazil 1768-B 1600 reis
This specimen was lot 1181 in the Eliasberg sale, where it sold for $4,600. The catalog description noted, "1768 1,600 reis. Bahia mint. AU-50 (NGC). Types as above. Lustrous medium gold with deeper highlights. Light signs of handling but very pleasing. A very challenging type to locate in nice grade. From the John H. Clapp Collection; Clapp estate to Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr., 1942."
This type was struck in Bahia 1752-1777 and in Rio 1752, 1763 and 1772 only. Despite the listing of fifteen dates for Bahia and only three for Rio, the SCWC assigns a lower price to the Rio issue. A rare denomination for either mint.
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: 3.58 g, .917 fine gold, .105 troy oz; this specimen: 3.48 grams, 20.90 mm diameter.
Catalog reference: KM 181.1, Fr-71, Gomes-48.12.
- Kraljevich, John, John Pack, Elizabeth O. Piper and Frank Van Valen, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr., Collection of World Gold Coins and Medals, Wolfboro, NH: American Numismatic Rarities, 2005.
- 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.
- 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.