Brazil 1779 4000 reis
This specimen was lot 1208 in the Eliasberg sale, where it sold for $1380. The catalog description noted, "1779 4,000 reis. MS-63 (NGC). Crowned arms, legends and denomination around/plain cross in quadralobe within circle, legends and date around. Light yellow gold with nice lustre and visual appeal. A short scratch is noted at 4000. From the John H. Clapp Collection; Clapp estate to Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr., 1942."
This type was struck 1778-86 in Lisbon and Rio without mintmark. It is much scarcer than the preceding "moidore" struck during the reign of José I (see KM 171).
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: 5,150.
Specification: 8.07 g, .917 fine gold, .237 troy oz AGW; this specimen: 8.14 grams, 26.90 mm diameter.
Catalog reference: KM 210, Fr-82.
- 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.