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Antiques and Works of Art, Silver and Jewelry

Auction 24 | 09 Oct, 21H00  10 Oct, 21H00  
Lot 321    |   Session 2 - 10 Oct

Rare 1 Centavo coin, 1922


€ 25.000 - 30.000

Hammer Price:

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NGC Certificate Nr. 4153628-016
These coins were minted in bronze (Cu 960-Sn 20-Zn 20) with 19,0mm of diameter and weighing 3,0g. Minted between 1917 and 1922 after design and engraving of Domingos Alves do Rego.
Approved on the 26th October 1917 (act679 of 21st April) immediately started to be minted due to great urgency.
The following year the 2 centavos coins final project was approved on the 11th March and the great urgency for those coins were so that all other coins stopped being produced. The copper used for the production was those kept at Casa da Moeda (56 tons) which allowed continuous production until August 1918. The shortage of copper due to the war and the failure on the collection of ancient bronze coins of the Monarchy – with the intent of transforming the metal into new 1 and 2 centavos coins – led to the interruption of the production.
A metal shortage led to total interruption of production between November 1918 and February 1919. The purchase of 50 tons of copper and the other metals necessary to create a bronze alloy in March 1919 enables starting producing coins since July. On the second semester of 1919 the shortage of change became a major problem being the complaints a constant and even a threat to the public order.
On the 10th November the Casa da Moeda informs the Banco de Portugal that “intensified to the maximum possible the production of coins and bills”
The Banco de Portugal tried to solve the necessity of change and on the 26th April 1918 started to release the first 1 Escudo and 50 Centavos bills.
At the end of the war the situation got even worse because of the high prices abroad and the quick devaluation of the Escudo (2200% from 1919 to 1924). Silver coins reached their intrinsic value at the end of 1918 and by September 1920 worth twice their face value, soon after they disappear of circulation.
The industry problems and the serious inflation (with the consequence of increasing the cost of metals), the loss of purchasing power of the lower coins made the minting of cupro-zinc and cupro-nickel coins unsustainable and the production was suspended in May 1922 starting again realising bills.
The suspension became definitive for 1Centavo coins and explains why 1922 1Centavo coins are rare, were minted 2150000 coins but all 1922 production together with substantial part of 1921 production were never released and remained at Casa da Moeda being melted in June 1924.
Although before that happens someone rescues 6 of those little 1Centavo coins of 1922 that are today the only surviving examples of the rarest coin of the Portuguese Republic.
In “A Grande História do Escudo Português” A.M.Trigueiros