Brazilian Dobrão: 20,000 réis

Brazilian Dobrão: 20,000 réis

The doubloon (dobrão in Portuguese) of 20,000 réis (not to be confused with Réais) was a gold coin minted in Brazil by the Casa da Moeda de Vila Rica (Minas Gerais) between 1724 and 1727 during the reign of Dom João V while Brazil was a colony of Portugal.

It had a diameter of 37 millimeters and it weighed 53.78 grams (generally rounded to 53.80 grams).

This incredible coin, considered the largest coin of intrinsic value (metal value) ever circulated in the world, was valued at 20,000 réis on the obverse (face side), while its real value could reach 24,000 réis, a quarter of the price equivalent to a young slave, and circulated mainly in Portugal and England.

Today, due to its rarity, some collector's items cost 4,000 euros for the dates 1725-1726-1727 and more than 15,000 euros for 1724.

In the world of Capoeira we speak of dobrão but it is not of this that we speak ...

The Golden Dobrão hardly ever circulated in Brazil. In Brazil, copper coins of 40 or 80 réis circulated which were more or less the same size as the duplicate ... so people started to name these copper coins Dobrão. It was the Dobrão of the people, a Dobrão of lesser value.


Around the coin, the legend IOANNES • V • D • G • PORT • ET • ALG • REX (which means "João V, by the grace of God, king of Portugal and the Algarves").

In the center, the Portuguese coat of arms and the crown, flanked by 20,000 on the left and 5 florets on the right.


Around the coin, the legend IN • HOC • SIGNO • VINCES (which means "With this sign, you will win").

In the center, the cross of the Order of Christ flanked by 4 monetary letters MMMM and date of the upper exergus.

Technical sheet: 20 thousand réis (gold doubloon)

FACIAL VALUE: 20,000 reis (R $ 20,000) / 1 doubloon

MATERIAL: Gold (Au 916 2/3)

WEIGHT (G): 53.784 grams

DIAMETER: 37.0 mm

The Latin words "In Hoc Signo Vinces" (with this sign you will win) derive from the Christian tradition, according to which the Emperor Constantine, the first Caesar to convert to Christianity, had won a battle against his rival Maxêncio after having engraved a Christian sign on the Escudos of all its soldiers.

But the first king of Portugal, Dom Afonso Henriques, in 1128 had a similar vision before the battle of Ourique, a battle he fought against 5 Moorish kings and in which he won, a victory which is engraved on the Escudo du Portugal and which later also passed the motto "In hoc Vinces Signs" which would appear for centuries in Portuguese currencies.

Casa da Moeda de Vila Rica

Established in Vila Rica, the Casa da Moeda de Minas Gerais operated for 10 years, from 1724 to 1734. Its creation was ordered in 1720, when the circulation of powdered gold was prohibited.

In the first half of the 18th century, the high gold mining rate in Brazil gave the three existing mint houses the opportunity to work together, making a large quantity of coins of great value and extreme beauty, showing the world the opulence of gold in the reign of D. João V (1706 - 1750).

Mint minted in Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, they were initially identical to those made in Metrópole: coin (4,000 réis), 1/2 coin (2,000 réis) and 1/4 coin or Quartinho (1,000 réis).

Although they had the same face value as those destined for the Provinces, they had a heavier weight, which made them circulate by being worth 20% more than their face value.

In addition to the aforementioned coins, the Casa da Moeda nova also minted $ 10,000 and $ 20,000 reis, which circulated for $ 12,000 and 24,000 reis, respectively.

D. João V

D. João V was born in Lisbon on October 22, 1689 and died in the same city on July 31, 1750, was nicknamed "the Magnanimous" and was king of Portugal and the Algarves from 1706 until his death.

King D. João V was not very involved in wars, except for the war of Spanish succession which he inherited from his father and in which he was quickly defeated.

Instead, he focused on international and European relations, fostering the growth of Portugal, transforming the country into a land of recognized prosperity.

One of the events that will mark the reign of King João V was the discovery of gold in a remote region of the interior of Brazil in the mid-1690s, when he was still Prince of Brazil. Gold from Minas began to arrive in Portugal at the end of this decade.

In 1697, the French ambassador Rouillé mentioned the arrival of “Peruvian” gold, citing 115.2 kg. Two years later, in 1699, 725 kg of gold arrived in Lisbon; by 1701, the quantity will have already increased to 1775 kg.

The economy of the colony entered the so-called gold cycle and the exploitation of gold will motivate, from the beginning of his reign, the conflicts of 1707-1709 in the region of the mines, known as war of the Emboabas.

Since then, the amount of gold mined in Brazil has steadily increased during the first half of the reign, only to stabilize during its last decade.

It was not until the following reign that gold production began to decline, which, along with the earthquake of 1755, was disastrous for Portugal.

But during the life of D. João V, future problems were not foreseen: in a few years, more than twenty tons of gold arrived in Lisbon; in average values, during all the years of his long reign, more than eight tons of gold from Brazil entered Portugal.

In the 1720s, diamonds were still found in large quantities, in the area of ​​the colonial village today called Diamantina.

The coins of D. João V

In the "casas de la moeda" (house of coins) of Lisbon, Porto, Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, Minas Gerais, Mozambique, Goa, Damão and Diu, the monarch ordered that his new coins be minted.

These included Dobrão, 1/2 Dobrão, Moeda (currency), 1/2 Moeda (1/2 currency), Quartinho (small quarter), Cruzado Novo, Dobra, Peça (la piece), 1/2 Peça (1/2 piece), Escudo, 1/2 Escudo and Cruzadinho.

It was also during this period that the Dobra de 24 Escudos was invented, the largest coin minted in Portugal and one of the most important in the world.

King D. João V managed to create all this opulence with gold and diamonds that at that time regularly arrived in Lisbon from Brazil.

Source: Text compiled from Internet research.

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