The Baron of Rio Branco: 5 Cruzeiros (Brazil, 1962)-Article

Updated: Mar 28

This Brazilian banknote represents the 2nd Print of the 1st denomination of the First Cruzeiro (Series 1962, Valor Legal). It closely resembles it's predecessor the 2nd Print Valor Recebido, issued from 1953-1959. As a general rule they can easily be identified from each other, by simply reading their footer text. In addition to Valor Legal notes lacking text below their header.

In 1967, Valor Legal notes from 10 Cruzeiros and above were converted into a provisional currency. These note are known as Cruzeiro Novo Overprint and feature an additional stamp. This stamp revalues the note to 1,000th of the original note's face value. As Brazilian currency was renamed and deflated, to counter issues related to inflation and low purchasing power.

After a sudden decision to term "Novo", from Cruzeiro Novo in 1970. The stamped notes were replaced by the the First Family of the 2nd Cruzeiro.


The observe depicts historian-geographer-diplomat José Maria da Silva Paranhos (1845-1912), “The Baron of Rio Branco”. He was renown for diplomatic skill, peacefully negotiatiating numerous border disputes, with Brazil's neighobors. These negotiations expanded Brazil's land mass by 10%. Earing him the title "Father of Brazilian Diplomacy".

The note's header reads (trans.) "Republic of United States of Brazil". The official name of the First Brazilian Republic (1889-1930). Directly below this header is a reference to the Brazilian "National Treasury", running along the top of the portrait. While below the portrait lists the note's (trans.) "Five Cruzeiros Legal Value".

Which is reinforced by numerous number "5"s, located throughout the note. Including it's borders and hidden amongst it's underprint. In regards to the main refence, the upper corners feature floral style guilloché backings. While the lower corners instead feature spade shape backing. Flanking the portrait are guilloché "wings", which feature small number "5"s at their ends.

Other notable features of the note includes its dual serial numbers (022508), which run diagonal from each other. Opposite of the serial numbers are series indicator (Estampa 2A), representing British printer Thomas De La Rue, London. Additionally the signatures of the Central Bank President and Minister of Finance can be seen, flanking the lower portrait.

Another feature of this note is its thin borders. Cruzeiro notes of the 1st Edition, 2nd Print Valor Legal (1962) often have this miscut appearance. With inconsistent spacing between the observe borders. This example cuts off the lower text, it should read "Thomas De La Rue & Company, Limited, London".


The reverse depicts Antonio Parreiras' painting “Conquista do Amazonas”, representing the conquest of the Amazon. The work Antônio Parreiras' can be seen in numerous Brazilian government sponsored projects. Such as this note's reverse art, which depicts Gonçalo Coelho's arrival on the Brazilian coast. The landing is depicted as Guanabara Bay, which became the city Rio de Janeiro.

The note's header and footer are read as a pair. Together they translate to, the "Republic of United States of Brazil". Besides the header are a pair of small number "5"s, representing the note's previous face value. Six additional number "5"s can be seen flanking the main art, on decorative guilloché backings.

Unlike the observe the reverse border is broad and even. While not seen in this example, the notes of the era tended to have small ink stains. This small defect can be seen in other US Dollar inspired banknotes of the era. Such as the Mexican 1 Peso printed by the American Bank Note Company, from 1936 to 1970.


Additional Notes

  • This note's dimensions are 157 x 67 mm or 6.18 x 2.64 in, slightly wider than a US Dollar.

  • The preferable method to preserve this note are standard sized protective sleeves.

  • The First Cruzeiro lacked an official ISO code, it used Cr$ as its official symbol.

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