Counterstamped Brazilian 20 & 40 Reis

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by GeorgeM, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. GeorgeM

    GeorgeM Well-Known Member

    I recently purchased a group of Brazilian counterstamped coins. I've always wanted to have some 'official' counterstamps, and the price for these seemed reasonable.

    But, I'll be the first to admit that I know almost nothing about 18th/19th century Brazilian coppers. Where is the best place to start attributing these? And what should I be on the lookout for (as I plan to only keep a few and then sell the others at my local coin club)?

    coins - counterstamped.jpg
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  3. GreatWalrus


    Well in some cases, the older the host date, the more valuable it is. But there isn't really anything in particular to look for I don't think. It would require a world coin value guide to look at each individually.
  4. GeorgeM

    GeorgeM Well-Known Member

    I'm a bit unclear on the history behind these - was there a currency devaluation in the 19th century that led to rampant counterstamping? Did the treasury just decree that all of the old coins were no longer legal tender and gradually reissue them after stamping a new value?

    All of the coppers in the lot I purchased are pretty large pieces. I presume they had a purchase power somewhere around a US large cent or maybe a British 2 pence. The coins stamped 20 reis (presumably old 40 reis coins?) are just slightly smaller than a US silver dollar (35 or 36mm) and the coins stamped 40 reis (presumably old 80 reis coins?) are slightly larger (39 or maybe 40mm). I am having trouble identifying the host coins...

    I also found an older thread that talks about these, but doesn't have much info to satisfy my curiosity:
  5. GeorgeM

    GeorgeM Well-Known Member

    It seems as if the date of the host coin may have been deliberately defaced on a number of these. I wonder if that's just due to honest wear (the date isn't in a sheltered area and would be exposed to a lot of rubbage) or if it was done when the coins were counterstamped.

    Just had an interesting thought - do these types of coins automatically deserve a split grade (ie; one for the host coin, and one for the stamp)? How do NGC/PCGS/ANACS treat these?

    Anyway, I'm finding a lot of 1820's dates (with the last digit being almost impossible to make out... a couple seem to be 1827 and 1828 though). In this lot, I have 4x 40 reales and 23x 20 reales - are those numbers roughly in-line with how many of each were produced? Or, are the 40 reales a lot more common outside of my tiny sample slice?

    Looking for some opinions here... which factors would you say are most important for evaluating which of these to keep? The date of the host coin? The amount of detail still visible on the host coin? The clarity of the counterstamp? Or the tone/surface finish of the host coin (ie; buried with corrosion marks vs. smooth and chocolate brown vs. brown with some spots of whitish tarnish)?

    For example, which of these is more valuable?
    Coin A] An 1827 counterstamped 20, stamped off center with obvious wear on the stamp ridge lines, with rough surfaces and moderate detail (maybe a VG8) or
    Coin B] An unknown date counterstamped 20, stamped cleanly, very little detail of the host coin remaining (maybe G4 on a generous day) or
    Coin C] An unknown date counterstamped 20, stamped off-center and with a worn stamp, but moderate detail of the host coin remaining except for the date (maybe F12)
  6. GeorgeM

    GeorgeM Well-Known Member

    Edited my previous posts: looks like 20 reis coins were 'created' out of 40 reis, and 40 reis countermarked on 80 reis. So, this was about devaluing the currency by 50%...
  7. GeorgeM

    GeorgeM Well-Known Member

  8. GeorgeM

    GeorgeM Well-Known Member

    I was curious about why Brazil devalued the currency in 1835 and came across some very interesting history of the Empire of Brazil. First off, the Empire was created when the Portuguese King left his heir (Pedro I) in charge as regent and the boy decided to split the country off from Portugal. Then, when his father died, he left Brazil to go back to Portugal and install his daughter on the throne (I find it hard to believe that the King of Portugal didn't disinherit his son for stealing Brazil, but this is only where the story starts to get interesting).

    Pedro I left his son Pedro II in charge in Brazil, but the boy was underage and a weak regency council reigned from 1831-1841. During that time, there were a number of overlapping revolts, wars with neighbors, and general uprisings. I still haven't found the particular trigger event, but it looks like the Cabanagem may have been the straw that broke the currency's back:

    At roughly the same time, the Malê Revolt is also a possible cause (it was a revolt of slaves and former slaves, many of whom where also African Muslims):ê_Revolt
  9. GeorgeM

    GeorgeM Well-Known Member

    Hmmm... the "War of the Ragamuffins" may also have been the trigger event. The economic factors that caused it (low import tariffs on salted beef vs. high internal taxes) would seem to have the greatest effect on the currency:

    Or, it could just be that 1835 was a 'time of troubles', with all of these different epic disasters putting pressure on the value of the Brazilian Reale.
  10. ctrl

    ctrl Member

    (I'm heavily interested/invested in Brazilian coins)

    This type of counterstamping (20/40 in an oval - the "general counterstamp", there are other types) to make 20 & 40 reis coppers were counterstamped in the mid-1830s. 20->10, 40->20, 80->40. There was a lot of deflation right after independence, in part because of rampant falsification and extreme lack of gold/silver from the Portuguese emptying the country's coffers as they returned home.

    These types you have are fairly common in general. There are a few rare types, all dependent on the underlying coin, so the date & mint mark are very important. Unless you have: a mintmark other than R (e.g. B, C, G, M, SP); an underlying coin of value other than 20/40/80; legend error (e.g. PETRUST, BRSA), then you probably don't have anything worth more than what you paid.

    R mintmarks are the most common. B mintmarks are less common, generally worth 2-5x the Rs.

    Rare date, non-errors on these 1820s-1830s counterstamped/devalued 80->40 and 40->20 coppers would be:
    1830B 80->40
    1831B 80->40
    Anything with mintmark C/G/SP or wierd values underneath like 75 or 37.5 you'd have something nice. 20->10s have some other rarities but it doesn't look like you have any.

    Condition grading is more dependent on the underlying coin than the counterstamp, which is really basic on these. Standard copper coin grading applies.

    They are interesting. Brazil has gone through a lot of monetary "reforms"... these counterstamps are evidence of one of those reforms. After independence, Brazil started making its own coinage, leading to several different denominations circulating around, some originally intended for just some region, not to mention all the previous colonial/kingdom coins. These slightly older coppers were counterstamped because of deflation and in an effort to standardize the coins that were circulating. A lack of silver (from the beforementioned Portuguese theft) meant that copper was being used in place of silver coins, which is also why these are so large.
    GeorgeM likes this.
  11. Collect89

    Collect89 Coin Collector

    Here are some previous CT threads discussing the Brazil counterstamps

    The shield countermarks were authorized in 1809. It was used to raise the value of the previous colonial copper and silver coins. I suspect that if you were an unscrupulous leader, you might spend the profit to enhance your own lifestyle. Think about it- If you could turn a silver quarter into a silver half dollar just by stamping it, wouldn’t you live well?

    The Brazil government passed a law in 1835 that caused the copper coins to be counterstamped. (ie.80 Reis to be officially counterstamped to the value of 40 Reis etc.). These are simple round counterstamps containing the numeric value.
  12. Siberian Man

    Siberian Man Senior Member

    All of these coins were counterstamped at 1835.
  13. GeorgeM

    GeorgeM Well-Known Member

    Hmm. Going through and cataloging my coins, I found a wider mix of dates that expected. Several of the coins have counterpunches that are rotated or badly off centered. Based on my sample though, it seems that well centered counterpunches are in the majority (4 or 5:1), with the alignment generally the same as the original coin (9:1).

    Here are my rough attributions for the host coins:
    20 over 40 Reis:
    182XR (no idea - nothing at all left for the last numeral)
    182XR (1822R?)
    182XR (1823R... the 3 is worn enough that it's a big stretch)
    XXX4R (presumable 1824R)
    XXX4R (1824R?)
    1XX6X (1826R?)
    182XX (looks like it may be 1827, can't make out the mint mark at all)
    18X7B (1827B?)
    XXX8R (1828R)
    18X8X (1828?)
    XXX9G (presumably 1829G)
    1830R (the R has a serif-spur visible, so it's not a B even though the bottom half of the date/mintmark is worn away) - with a clipped planchet
    18X1R (1831R?)
    & 2 unknown date or mint mark

    Among the 40/80 Reis coins, I found:

    Are any of those combinations impossible?

    One of the counterstamped coins in the lot is very different from the rest. It is in far worse shape than the others (with possible burial damage) so at first I didn't realize that it was a totally different pattern. I think this is an 1820 20 Reis - although all that I noted at first is that there's a dotted pattern instead of the wreath around the denomination. At 6:00, inside the dots is a "M" that looks like where the R and B mint marks are on 20 Ries pieces that I found on eBay. Was there an "M" mint? And was the diamond counterpunch used to 'transform' a 20 Reis coin into a 20 Reis coin, or did it signify something else?

    Using an image from this document, I've marked the counterpunch location in pink and the "M" in orange/red:
  14. ctrl

    ctrl Member

    1. Check the 1824R 20/40 for the PETRUST error just to be sure
    2. The 1829G is counterstamped with a 20 or a 10?
    3. Are you sure the 1828M is a 40 over 80?
    4. Regarding the different coin: An M mintmark is from Minas Gerais, on the coppers the M is between dots below the date. (An M counterstamp would be something else) Pictures would help. Is the illustration representative of the base coin you have? Are you saying the counterstamp is 20 on top of the XX, and the date is 1820, with an M inbetween little dots sits below the date? I'm confused about what exactly it looks like.
  15. Collect89

    Collect89 Coin Collector

    ctrl knows his stuff

    Very cool GeorgeM. It looks like you have about 20 different combinations of dates & counterstamps. That would nicely fill a 20 pocket page and would make a nice exhibit in your collection. Are you going to keep them all now? :)
    GeorgeM likes this.
  16. ctrl

    ctrl Member

    Is the one with the diamond shown in the photo in the original post, center of the bottom row? That yellow diamond?
  17. BRandM

    BRandM Counterstamp Collector

    It looks like the history of these pieces has been well presented by several knowledgable members, so I won't go into that. However, as far as the split grade on counterstamped coins is concerned, the grade of the stamp is generally more important than that of the coin. It's true with U.S. issues at least, but I'm not sure about your coins. The host coin only becomes paramount when the counterstamp is struck on a rare issue, a gold coin, or some similar circumstance. I like your lot of coins George...congrats on a nice pickup.

  18. Siberian Man

    Siberian Man Senior Member

    I have several coins without a counterstamps.

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  19. Siberian Man

    Siberian Man Senior Member

    And yet.

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  20. BRandM

    BRandM Counterstamp Collector

    Thanks for posting your non-stamped examples Eugene. I see so many of the counterstamped ones that I almost forgot what the "original" looks like.

  21. GeorgeM

    GeorgeM Well-Known Member

    Here are some pictures of the 40/80 Reis (1828M, tentatively):
    Coin - Brazil - 40 on 80 Reis - 1828M 01.jpg Coin - Brazil - 40 on 80 Reis - 1828M 02.jpg Coin - Brazil - 40 on 80 Reis - 1828M 03.jpg Coin - Brazil - 40 on 80 Reis - 1828M 04.jpg
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