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Joao V 400 Reis Gold Coins from Brazil and Portugal

Desert Gold


Happy Valentine’s Day!  I hope you enjoy the eye candy. It’s calorie free. 


My main goal for this post is to explain why I chose to collect coins from Brazil and Portugal together.  I will use gold 400 Reis coins that were minted in Portugal and Brazil during the reign of Joao V for illustrative purposes.

I have created a custom registry set that is titled “Joao V 400 Reis Gold Coins from Brazil and Portugal” to provide additional information about these coins, i.e., https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/WCM/CoinCustomSetView.aspx?s=34101 

The first two pictures in the banner are of the obverse and reverse of a 1736 400 Reis gold coin (Pinto) that was minted in Lisbon, Portugal without a mint mark.  The third and fourth pictures in the banner are of the obverse and reverse of a 1730 400 Reis coin that was minted in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil with a RRRR mint mark.  Finally, the fifth picture is of the reverse of a 400 Reis coin that was minted in Minas Gerias, Brazil with a MMMM mint mark.

Why I collect Coins from Both Brazil and Portugal 

D. Joao (John) V was the ruler of Portugal from 1706 to 1750. Since Brazil was one of Portugal's colonies during this time, Joao was also the de facto king of Brazil during this time.

As I discussed in one of my previous journal posts, the Lisbon mint in Portugal served as the main mint and the other mints in Portugal and Brazil were effectively branch mints. Here I show that similar designs for 400 Reis gold coins were minted by both Portugal and Brazil during Joao's reign.

The pictures in the banner are all of 400 Reis gold coins that are referred to as Cruzado Novos or Pintos. The Pintos are 14mm in diameter and weight 1.1g. The Pinto obverses (see the first and third pictures) exhibit the denomination (400 Reis), a crown with a cross, the name of the ruler written below the crown, and ornaments like sprigs or branches with leaves. There wasn’t room to show the obverse of the coin from Minas Gerias, but it looks very similar the third picture. 

The Pinto reverses include the year they were minted, a flanked (Jerusalem) cross with a single dot in the center, and either quatrefoils in the four quadrants of the cross on the coins from the Lisbon, Portugal mint (picture 2), or the mint marks for the coins minted in Brazil (pictures 4 and 5). They also include the Latin phrase “IN HOC SIGNO VINCES”, which translates to either "In this sign thou shalt conquer" or "By this sign, conquer". 

Since the three coins that are shown in the header look very similar, it shows that the Lisbon mint, which typically produced coins without mint marks, acted much like the Philadelphia mint in the US.  Furthermore, the Rio De Janeiro and Minas Gerais (Vila Rica) mints acted like branch mints and included their mint marks on their coins.  

So why do I collect coins from Portugal in addition to those from Brazil?  Well it’s sort of like US collectors that collect both coins from the main mint (Philadelphia) as well as the branch mint coins.  In general, the coins from the Philadelphia mint are more available, can be found in better states of preservation, and are cheaper than those of the branch mints.  The same situation holds for the coins from the main mint in Lisbon and the branch mints in Brazil.  

Most of the time the coins from Brazil are rarer and lower quality than those from the Lisbon mint.  This is definitely true for the 400 Reis gold coins that we are discussing. Since the Portuguese Pintos were minted for many years, while they are scarce, they can be found in high grades, like the one shown in the banner which is a MS66 coin. They can also be purchased for relatively low cost.  

On the other hand, the 1730R coin (1 date) that was minted by the Rio De Janeiro mint, is very rare and expensive.  There are currently only two of these coins in the NGC census, i.e, my XF details (scratched) coin and an amazing MS62 coin that recently sold at Heritage for a lot of money.  The Minas Gerais minted type has two dates, and is more available, but still rare since there are currently only two straight-graded coins and 7 details coins in the NGC census. I believe that the numbers are inflated since I know some of the coins were cracked out and resubmitted.  This type also sells for much more money than the Portugal Pintos.  My coin is graded AU details.  

The Minas Gerias and Rio mints also produced a second type of 400 Reis gold coin called the Cruzadinho. Portugal didn't produce this type of coin. The Cruzadinhos are the same diameter (14mm) as the previously discussed Pintos, but they are lighter (0.9g). Examples of this type are shown in the custom registry set that I set up. The 1734R coin is a scarce type since there is only one date. The Minas Gerias mint produced coins for 4 years, so this type is more available. Both types of these coins can be obtained in uncirculated grades. For further information about all of the 400 Reis gold coins that were minted during the reign of king Joao V, see https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/WCM/CoinCustomSetView.aspx?s=34101 

Although these are the last 400 Reis gold coins produced by the Brazil mints, the Lisbon mint continued producing Pintos until 1821. You can see all of the various types of Pintos produced by the Lisbon mint at https://www.ngccoin.com/registry/competitive-sets/364386/ 




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