Villa-Lobos, Conductor Of The Amazon: 500 Cruzados (Brazil, 1988)-Article

Updated: Mar 20

This commemorative Brazilian banknote represents the 4th denomination of the Cruzado (Series 1986). The Cruzado was a short-lived currency, which circulated from 1986 to 1989. Which replaced the previous 2nd Cruzeiro, at at a rate of 1 cruzado to 1000 Cruzeiros. Notably the last 3 denominations of the 2nd Cruzeiro served, as overprinted provisional Cruzado notes.

Due to high inflation the Cruzado was replaced by the Cruzado Novo, at a rate of 1,000 to 1.


The observe features a portrait of composer Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959), often considered the greatest figure in 20th century Brazilian music. To his left, is an excerpt from the score of the ballet "Uirapuru", on Queen Victoria's Water Lilies. Along the edge is the phrase (trans.) "I consider my works as letters that I wrote to posterity without waiting for a response", in micro text.

The note's header is off-set to the upper-left. It reads, the (trans.) "Central Bank of Brazil". Notably the first "L" (Central) aligns with a faint security thread. Below the header is one of the note's dual-serial numbers (A 7635004716 A). The second number can be seen at the lower-right. To the right is a security stamp, with "BCB" in latent text. Representing the Central Bank of Brazil.

At the lower-left is a large number "500", backed by arrows. Its (trans.) "Five Hundred Cruzado" text value is listed to the left, on a keyboard. A second number "500" can be seen at the upper-right. Some distance below is a pair of signatures, representing the Minister of Finance (top) and Central Bank President (bottom). To right is a repeated version of the beforementioned micro text.

Beneath the signatures is a "flute" registration element. Backlighting the note with bright light, will complete the light puzzle effect. Doing so will also expose a mirrored "Villa Lobos" watermark, opposite of the "flute". To the left of the watermark is conductor "baton".


The reverse features Heitor Villa-Lobos conducting, while backed by the Amazon Rain Forest. This background is based on an engraving by Johann Moritz Rugendas (1802-1858). It depicts a group of Amazonian natives riding a canoe, on a river. Along the edges the observe micro text is repeated. Behind Villa-Lobos is the negative of the "flute registration element.

Similar to the observe, the reverse has number "5 000"s at its upper-right and lower-left corners. Although the text value now features a color-shifting backing. It extend from the lower center, to the watermark area, at the right. The beforementioned security thread aligns, between the words "Quinhentos Cruzados" (Five Hundred Cruzado).

Additionally UV sensitive fibers can be seen on the note's unprinted sections.

Cruzado Gallery

(Gallery will be updated as new banknotes are databased)


Additional Notes

  • This note's dimensions are 154 x 74 mm or 6.06 x 2.91, larger than a US Dollar.

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

  • The Cruzado ISO code was BRC, it used Cz$ as its official symbol.

  • The Cruzado was subdivided into 100 Centavos, coins were in Centavos and Cruzados.

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