Brazil is among a group of nations whose economies are projected to
surge over the next few decades.
The so-called “BRICS” are expected to lay the foundation for a
shifting global economy. Countries in the bloc are Brazil, Russia,
India, China and South Africa, and it is probably no coincidence that
in the past five years or so, the markets for most of those nations’
coins have garnered many headlines.
Agustín Garcia-Barneche of auction firm Daniel Frank Sedwick
believes the Brazilian market for coins is poised for growth because
of many economic indicators underpinning Brazil’s national economy,
like the gross domestic product, positive consumer confidence, a
larger middle class and an influx of foreign investments.
The fact that the world will turn its attention to Brazil for two
major sporting events within a few years — the 2014 FIFA World Cup
tournament and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games — also bodes well,
according to Garcia.
No economic slouch, Brazil has been counted among the top 10 world
economies since 1990, in recent years ranking seventh. Projections are
that it will only improve its ranking in coming decades.
Daniel Frank Sedwick’s next auction, which closes May 1 and 2,
offers an opportunity to explore the Brazilian numismatic landscape,
through what is being called the New England Collection.
Don’t let the name fool you — the consignment is a type collection
of Brazilian coins, mainly from the Bahia Mint but also of coins from
the Rio de Janeiro Mint, with many finest-known pieces and unique
dates and varieties, according to the firm.
The first part of the collection is being offered in the May sale.
The core of the collection was acquired in the 1940s to 1970s, many
handled by Kurt Prober, a name well known to collectors in the Spanish
colonial segment of the hobby.
Brazil’s numismatic history was shaped by the colonial powers that
ruled it, with Portuguese coins (and the omnipresent Spanish colonial
silver dollars, often countermarked in reals, the local denomination)
dominating until Brazil opened its first mint, at Bahia, in 1694.
After five years, the mint at Bahia was transferred to Rio de
Janeiro, and in 1700 was moved to Pernambuco before closing in 1702.
Rio de Janeiro became a minting site again in 1703, and a new Bahia
Mint was established in 1714. The final Brazilian mint, at Villa Rica
de Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais, operated from 1724 to 1734.
In addition to coins struck at Rio and Bahia, the Lisbon Mint in
Portugal also struck coins for Brazil. During the reign of Jose I
(1750 to 1777), all three struck gold 800-, 1,600-, 3,200- and
Two highlights from the New England Collection’s first offering
could be portals to the Brazilian series.
According to Garcia, coins of the second Bahia Mint are much rarer
than those struck in Rio, which had the finest dies, best assayers and
minting equipment (Portugal provided the dies and machinery).
“Bahia was in comparison way smaller with a less accurate
execution with a more crude product which was way more scarce due to
less resources and labor,” Garcia-Barneche said.
As the capital, Rio struck significantly more coins than the
branch mints, with Garcia-Barneche likening the relationship between
Bahia and Rio to another that U.S. collectors might understand.
“Metaphorically speaking,” the Rio de Janeiro Mint was like the
Philadelphia Mint for the United States and the Bahia facility was
sort of the Dahlonega Branch Mint, he said.
The highlight of the first portion of the sale comes from the
Bahia Mint. The 1768-B gold 1,600-real coin is graded About
Uncirculated 58 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., making it the
“finest-known” example graded by NGC, according to Sedwick. The
auction house reports the coin is conservatively graded.
The coin is cataloged as Russo O362 by Arnaldo Russo in Catalog de
Moedas do Brasil.
Any date of this denomination from the Bahia Mint is rare, with
usually only one or a few known for each date.
The 1768-B coin has an estimate from $25,000 to $50,000.
A 1762/1 gold 6,400-real coin from the Rio de Janeiro Mint offers
further opportunity to acquire a rare Brazilian coin.
The higher denomination coins often have greater mintages than the
smaller coins, Garcia-Barneche said. The example from the New England
Collection features an unlisted overdate error, which is rare. The
design type is listed as R-O430 in the Russo catalog.
Lustrous and Uncirculated, with red toning at top, but with
contact marks, this coin has an estimate of $1,500 to $2,250. ■
1768-B gold 1,600-real coin from colonial Brazil
About Uncirculated 58
Live on the Internet
May 1 and 2, 2013
Brazil’s coinage includes issues from the Bahia Mint, which was
not as advanced and prolific as the Rio de Janeiro Mint.