Brazil 1808 4000 reis

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Eliasberg lot 1239
Brazil 1808 4000 reis rev Eliasberg 1239.jpg
Heritage sale 3026, lot 23930
Brazil 1808 4000 reis rev H3026-23930.jpg

The first specimen was lot 1239 in the Eliasberg sale, where it sold for $920. The catalog description[1] noted, "1808 4,000 reis. MS-63 (NGC). Crowned arms, legends and denomination around/plain cross in quadralobe within circle, legends and date around. Lustrous medium gold. From the John H. Clapp Collection; Clapp estate to Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr., 1942." The second specimen was lot 23930 in Heritage sale 3026 (Long Beach, October 2013), where it sold for $1,527.50. The catalog description[2] noted, "João VI Prince Regent gold 4000 Reis 1808-(B), MS62 NGC. Struck from an amended date die with sparkling luster that boosts the eye-appeal above most. From The RLM Collection, Part II." This type was struck at Bahia 1805-16 and at Rio 1808-17. There is no mintmark but the Bahia issues have dots on either side of the date and the Rio issues have flowers (see image). This type is the most common of the "moidores."

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: 128,000 (plus 37,000 struck at Bahia).

Specification: 8.07 g, .917 fine gold, .237 troy oz AGW; first specimen: 8.04 grams, 27.50 mm diameter.

Catalog reference: KM 235.2, Fr-95 (first specimen), KM235.1, Russo-547, Gomes-33.07 (second specimen).


  • [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.
  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2012.
  • Pimentel, Alvaro Mendes, Catálogo de Moedas Brasileiras de 1643 a 1962, 9a Ed., Rio de Janeiro, 1962.
  • [2]Bierrenbach, Cristiano, Warren Tucker and Scott Cordry, Heritage Signature Auction 3026, World & Ancient Coins, featuring the RLM Collection, Part Two, the Nogales Collection and the Goetz Medals Die Archive, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2013.

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