Brazil 1781-B 3200 reis

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Eliasberg sale 1211
Brazil 1781B 3200 reis rev Eliasberg 1211.jpg

This type was struck in Bahia 1780-86 but not in Rio. This specimen was lot 1211 in the Eliasberg sale, where it sold for $5750. The catalog description[1] noted, "1781 3,200 reis. Bahia mint. MS-62 (NGC). Types as above. Lustrous yellow gold, struck slightly unevenly with some light adjustment marks and planchet texture visible near the rim, a characteristic shared by the Norweb specimen of this date. Somewhat reflective fields, pit near Maria's eye, very nice eye appeal. The Norweb piece was conservatively called 'extremely fine' and brought $5,500 against an estimate of $1,200 to $1,800. A very rare issue.

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: 7.17 g, .917 fine gold, .211 troy oz AGW; this specimen: 7.09 grams, 25.60 mm diameter.

Catalog reference: KM 150, Fr-78.


  • [1]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.

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