World Coins

Flora, fauna, music, architecture on silver Rio coins

Editor's note: this is the second part of a story by Jeff Starck about Brazil's circulating and collector coins celebrating the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The original appears in the August monthly issue of Coin World.

The first four silver coins released include one celebrating the famed Bossa Nova musical style, a defining sound fused from samba (another Brazilian musical style) and jazz. Another silver coin honors the Arcos da Lapa, or Carioca Aqueduct in Rio de Janiero. The third silver coin in the first release celebrates a dolphin, and the final silver coin in the first release honors the bromeliad. Bromeliads are hardy tropical flowering plants. 

The musical style chorinho (known as choro in English) is a popular style named for the lamenting cry of its songs. Chorinho is the subject of the Music-themed coin in the second silver coin release (the first release of 2015). The Architecture silver coin from that launch honors the Museum of Contemporary Art in Niteroi, Rio, Brazil. A toucan perches on the silver Fauna coin from this second release, and the Fauna coin in this group highlights helioconia plants. 

The third series of silver coins — released later in 2015 — includes a coin celebrating the Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí or simply Sambadrome, a purpose-built parade area in downtown Rio de Janeiro where samba schools parade competitively each year during the Rio Carnival. The parades attract many thousands of Brazilians and foreign tourists each year.

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Another silver coin in the third series honors forró, which is a musical and dance style popularized in the country’s northeastern region. Orchids represent Flora on another silver coin and the Fauna coin highlights the dourado, a Brazilian monkey, in the third release. 

The final four silver coins were released in 2016. One of these coins celebrates the famous musical style known as Samba, the musical and dance style that originated in the 1920s and is now a central component to Rio de Janiero’s famous Carnival. 

Another silver coin depicts the Teatro Municipal (Municipal Theater) in Rio, which mimicked Paris’ famed Opera house when it was built in the early 1900s. It remains one of Rio’s most famous landmarks. A butterfly fills the design in the latest Fauna silver coins, and the remaining Flora coin honors Pau Brazil, or Brazilwood, an indigenous tree prized for its orange-red wood that is often used for dyes and making bows for stringed instruments. 

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