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The Giant Water Lilies Of the Amazon: 5 Cruzeiros (Brazil, 1961)-Article

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

This Brazilian banknote represents the sole denomination of the First Cruzeiro (3rd Print, Series 1961 "Valor Recebido"). This variant of the 5 Cruzeiro was printed domestically by Casa Da Moeda Do Brasil. As opposed to previous First Cruzeiro notes, which were produced by the American Bank Note Company (ABNC) and Thomas De La Rue, London (TDLR) respectively.

Known as the "Nota Indiana" (Indian Note), it had a brief circulation, from 1961-1962. Before being replaced by the TDLR-printed 5 Cruzeiro "Valor Legal". Which itself had a somewhat short circulation, due to raising inflation. Eventually leading to the replacement of the First Cruzeiro, in 1967. Special stamped notes, known as Cruzeiro Novo Overprint served during this transition.


Brazilian 5 Cruzeiros note observe designed by Orlando Maia and engraved by Rubens Alves da Silva.
Brazilian 5 Cruzeiros observe designed by Orlando Maia and engraved by Rubens Alves da Silva.

The observe depicts a traditional Jangada sail boat and an indigenous man in profile. The indigenous man not meant to represent a particular tribe, but the indigenous people of Brazil as a whole. The Jangada (on the note's left) was used by the Piperi, which the Portuguese encounter on Brazil's northeastern coast. The Jangada continues to be used for fishing and boat racing.

Similar to other Valor Recebido notes, the note's header, its subtext and footer are read together. It roughly translates to, the "Republic of United States of Brazil will pay the bearer to the amount of Five Cruzeiros Valor Recebido". Notably the "Republic of United States of Brazil", was the official name of the First Brazilian Republic (1889-1930), in addition to the "Vargas Era (1930-1937).

Unlike previous First Cruzeiro notes, whos designs were inspired by the US Dollar. The "Nota Indiana" features designs inspired by indigenous Brazilian art. The center features number "5" backed by elaborate geometric design. As does the borders, the right side abstractly depicts lizards. Additional number "5"s can be seen at the corners. With the upper and lower corners featuring differing designs.

Other notable features of the note includes its dual serial numbers (027305), which run roughly diagonal from each other. Opposite of the serial numbers are series indicator (Estampa 3), representing Casa Da Moeda Do Brasil. Additionally the signatures of the Director of Amortization and Minister of Finance can be seen, below the header


Brazilian 5 Cruzeiros observe designed by Orlando Maia and engraved by José Maria das Neves.
Brazilian 5 Cruzeiros observe designed by Orlando Maia and engraved by José Maria das Neves.

The reverse features an illustration of the world famous Queen Victoria's Water Lily. Who's giant pads can grow up to an impressive 3 m (10 ft) across. These massive lily pads are largest currently discovered and are the national flower of neighboring Guyana.

The note's header and footer are read as a pair. Together they translate to, the "Republic of United States of Brazil". Six number "5"s can be seen flanking the main art, on three types of decorative backings. The large "winged" backings at the main arts sides are inspired by water lily pads.

Some minor blue staining can be seen from excess ink. This small defect can be seen in other banknotes of the era. Such as the Mexican 1 Peso printed by the American Bank Note Company, from 1936 to 1970. In addition to the various US Dollar inspired banknotes issued by Brazil.


Additional Notes

  • This note's dimensions are 156 x 67 mm or 6.14 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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