5000 Reis Prata Type 1905

Discover this very rare Azores banknote!

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The "Moeda Insulana"

Between 1876 and 1931, the Azores real was the official currency used in the two autonomous regions of Portugal, the Azores archipelago and the island of Madeira. The first banknotes issued between 1876 and 1885 only concern São Miguel, the largest island in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores.

In 1895, a second series of banknotes was issued in denominations of 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 Reis, this time for all nine islands of the Azores archipelago. All these banknotes are made on the same plate as the banknotes issued for mainland Portugal, but with color differences and with the following specific mentions: “Pagavel nas Agencias dos Açôres (payable in the Azores agencies)” and “Moeda Insulana »(Island currency). These banknotes are therefore payable on demand to the bearer in prata (silver) or ouro (gold) on presentation in any branch of the nine islands of the Azores.

Between 1905 and 1910, a third issue was produced by the Printing Office of the Bank of Portugal (Estamperia do Banco de Portugal) in denominations of 2,500, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 Reis. The five banknotes are designed with technical assistance from several European printers (1) in order to improve security against counterfeiting. Finally and unlike the previous issue, the notes are overprinted, or not, "Açôres" diagonally between two bars on the front. On the back, this overprint is repeated horizontally in the corners and in the center, but without the bars.

The 5000 Reis Prata Type 1905 note that we are going to present to you now is part of this last 1905 issue ...

5000 Reis Prata Type 1905

The 5000 Reis Prata Type 1905 (Ref. Pick: # 9 or The Banknote Book: # B108) is dated January 30, 1905 in Lisbon (Lisboa), but was not put into service until March 12, 1906. Its dimensions are : 141 x 91 mm. Multicolored front and back printing, predominantly yellow and green. Description of the front: frame decorated with rosettes with the value of the banknote in figures and letters in the corners. The texts are in Portuguese. In the center, a helmeted allegory of Portugal holds the country's coat of arms. On the sides, two men each carrying a cornucopia, are leaning on pipes from which the water flows symbolizing the two major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula: the Tagus and the Douro. Eight combinations of signatures are known for the Type with The Director (O Director) and the Governor (O Governador). The banknote is identical to the 5 Mil Reis Type 1903 (Ref. Pick: # 83), but has different colors as well as the words “Moeda Insulana” and “Pagavel nas Agencias dos Açôres” in the center above the date. The watermark, in an oval on the right, contains the face of an allegorical bearded man. The back has the same frame as the front and the coat of arms of Portugal in the center. Printer: Estamparía do Banco de Portugal. The note was withdrawn from circulation on March 31, 1932.



PMG Population report

Only 10 banknotes are referenced in the PMG Population report with the distribution of graded banknotes in the following table:

PMG Grades12253035 EPQ4040 EPQ
Number of notes133111

A rare banknote!

Numizon inventory only records 11 known copies of the 500 Reis Prata Type 1905 (2) presented in detail in the table below:

Pick: # 9 / TBB: # B108aB05909--seen on the Numismondo.net website
Pick: # 9 / TBB: # B108aB09085F-€ 1,100unsold at Christoph Gärtner in 2015, Auction # 45 (lot # 1116)
Pick: # 9 / TBB: # B108cD02652PMG 25 VF NET-unsold at Heritage Auctions in 2015 (lot # 26038)
Pick: # 9 / TBB: # B108eG10441PMG 12 F$ 1 410sold at Stack's Bowers in 2012 (lot # 12511)
Pick: # 9 / TBB: # B108fH01341--seen on the Numismondo.net website
Pick: # 9 / TBB: # B108fH10847PMG 40 XF EPQ-unsold at Stack's Bowers in 2017 (lot # 30018)
Pick: # 9 / TBB: # B108fH12827--photo in the Pick catalog (WPM)
Pick: # 9 / TBB: # B108gJ00177PMG 40 EF NET$ 900sold at Heritage Auctions in 2017 (lot # 27040)
Pick: # 9 / TBB: # B108gJ11748PMG 25 VF$ 1,000sold at Heritage Auctions en 2019 (lot # 28217)
Pick: # 9 / TBB: # B108hK00058VF-€ 1,900sold at Christoph Gärtner en 2015, Auction # 31 (lot # 30351)
Pick: # 9 / TBB: # B108hK09157F--for sale on ebay in August 2020!

The known prefix letters for this banknote are: B, C, D, F, G, H, J and K (3) but we have not found copies with prefix C and F!

A banknote is for sale on ebay!

The last copy of our score, numbered K 09157 (Ref. Pick: # 9 / TBB: # B108h) and whose photos illustrate this article, is currently for sale on ebay (eBay item number : #154050806607). The note bears the signatures of Augusto José da Cunha and Júlio Marques de Vilhena. This is a rare opportunity to put this jewel in your banknotes collection ... FYI, the sale ends on August 25, 2020 at 4:53PM!


(1) Bradbury Wilkinson, Giesecke & Devrient and Perkins Bacon.
(2) As we have only marked 5 of the 10 graded banknotes in the PMG population report, 5 graded copies are therefore likely to be added to our initial result ...
(3) Letters indicated in The Banknote Book: Azores.

Our sources

  • "The Banknote Book: Azores" by Owen W. Linzmeyer.
  • "Azores", Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, 1368-1960, 12th édition (pages 101 and 102).
  • Sales archives: cgb.fr, Heritage Auctions, Stack's Bowers and Christoph Gärtner.
  • Reference site: Banknote Museum.

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