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The Real is the present-day currency of Brazil and was also the currency during the period 1690 to 1942. When the first real circulated, the plural used was Réis. The currently used plural form is Reais, with the symbol R$ and ISO 4217 Code BRL. The modern real is subdivided into 100 Centavos.

HistoryEdit

In the 1750s, copper coins were in circulation in denominations of 5, 10, 20 and 40 réis, silver coins for 75, 150, 300 and 600 réis, and gold coins for 1000, 2000, 4000 and 6400 réis. The silver coinage was reformed in 1778, with the introduction of 80, 160, 320 and 640 real coins. Between 1780 and 1782, gold 800, 1600 and 3200 réis were added. In 1809, older copper and silver coins were counterstamped with the Portuguese arms, doubling the value of 5, 10, 20 and 40 real pieces and increasing the value of 75, 150, 300 and 600 real coins to 80, 160, 320 and 640 réis. From 1810, Spanish 8 real coins ("Spanish dollars") were overstruck to produce 960 real coins. Copper 80 réis were introduced in 1811.

Between 1823 and 1833, the copper coinage of Brazil varied across the country, with denominations of 10, 20, 37½, 40, 75 and 80 réis being produced. Silver coins continued in denominations of 80, 160, 320, 640 and 960 réis, along with gold 4000 and 6400 réis.

Between 1833 and 1835, the coinage was reformed. The copper coinage was standardized across the country, with the introduction of countermarked coins for 10, 20 and 40 réis. Silver coins were introduced in denominations of 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1200 réis, along with gold 10,000 réis.

A further reform between 1848 and 1854 reduced the silver and gold content of the coinage, with new silver coins for 200, 500, 1000 and 2000 réis, and gold 5000, 10,000 and 20,000 réis. Bronze 10 and 20 réis were introduced in 1868, followed by cupro-nickel 100 and 200 réis in 1871, bronze 40 réis in 1873 and cupro-nickel 50 réis in 1886. The 10 réis was discontinued in 1870.

In 1901, cupro-nickel 400 réis were introduced, followed by cupro-nickel 20 réis in 1918. Aluminium-bronze 500 and 1000 réis were introduced in 1922, followed by cupro-nickel 200 réis, aluminium-bronze 2000 réis and silver 5000 réis in 1936.

First SeriesEdit

In 1994, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents and 1 real. All were struck in stainless steel. All coins except the 25 centavo coin have the same design front and back. A problem with the 25 centavo was the identical size to the 1 Real coin, though the designs were different.

Modern RealEdit

In 1998, a second series of coins was introduced, with copper-plated steel 1 and 5 centavos, brass-plated steel 10 and 25 centavos, a cupronickel 50 centavos and a bi-coloured brass and cupronickel 1 real (from 2002 onwards a steel 50 centavos and a bi-coloured brass and steel 1 real). Both series of coins are valid, but the government has plans to eventually remove the first from circulation. On December 23, 2003, the first type 1 real coin started to be withdrawn from circulation. In November, 2005, the Brazilian Central Bank decided to discontinue the production of 1 centavo coins due to their small value. However, the existing coins continue to be valid. Most retailers tend to round their prices to the next 5 or 10 centavos.

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