Much of the world focused on Brazil during the past month as athletes from around the world fought to earn medals during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Heritage Auctions’ Sept. 8 and 9 Long Beach world coins auction also offers a particular focus on medals and Brazil, but these medals celebrate other causes.
The auction house offers a collection of 143 Brazilian Imperial medals and decorations in 107 lots. According to the firm, “It is perhaps the most interesting and advanced group of Brazilian pieces in a couple of decades.”
Several items in the collection are rare to extremely rare, and many are being offered in the United States for the first time.
The collection “draws the rich history of Brazil from its independence in 1822 to the declaration of the republic in 1889,” according to Heritage. “It is an amazing opportunity to obtain incredibly rare pieces from South America’s largest country.”
And one of the rarest pieces in the collection is the main highlight, unique in private hands.
Unique in private hands
The 1826 gold medal of Pedro I celebrates the Foundation of the Academy of Fine Arts.
The piece was previously not cataloged in gold, Heritage reports.
Designed by Zepherin Ferrez, the 6,400-real medal shows then ruler Pedro I on the obverse, with a seven-line inscription on the reverse inside a wreath.
Ferrez, a member of the French Cultural Mission to Brazil in the early 19th century, engraved several medals and most importantly the “Coronation Piece of Pedro I,” denominated 6,400 reis, in 1822 (an example of which Heritage sold in January 2014 for just shy of $500,000, setting a new record for highest price paid for a Brazilian coin).
The 1826 medal in the Heritage auction is the only available example in private hands, as the two other pieces known are in the National Historical Museum and in the Imperial Museum, both in Rio de Janeiro.
The medal measures 45 millimeters in diameter and weighs 76.46 grams. Heritage describes its condition as Good Extremely Fine and gives it an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000.
A hero’s award medal
Another gold medal in the sale is almost as rare as the 1826 piece but has an estimate at a fraction of the value.