The Coronation Piece of Pedro IPedro I gold 6400 Reis 1822-R, KM361, VF Details NGC (mount removed), Ex-Eliasberg, struck for the coronation of Pedro I. Extremely rare with only 64 pieces minted. 10-12 pieces in existence today with the majority in museums. This example displays strong details on both sides with burnished surfaces from jewelry use and a mount trace on the rim at the top.
Born on October 12, 1798, in the Queluz Royal Palace, near Lisbon, Pedro de Alcantara Serafim was the son of Prince Dom Joao (later King Dom Joao VI of Portugal) and Dona Carlota Joaquina, the daughter of Carlo IV of Spain. In 1801, upon the death of his elder brother, Francisco Antonio, Pedro become his father's heir and the Prince of Beira.
In 1807, at the age of nine, the Portuguese Royal family escaped Portugal as the French army led by Napoleon approached Lisbon. Pedro arrived with his family in Rio de Janeiro in March of 1808. In 1817, Pedro was married to Maria Leopoldina of Austria and went on to have 7 children including Maria (the eldest daughter that later became Maria II Queen of Portugal and Pedro, who become Pedro II, emperor of Brazil for almost 60 years).
By early 1822, Pedro had become a popular leader amongst the Brazilian population and had proved a key figure in negotiations between the now United Kingdom of Brazil (since 1818) and Portugal but a continuing crisis between the parts reached a boiling point when the Portuguese dissolved the Brazilian government and ordered Pedro's return to the Iberian Peninsula. Seen by Brazilians as an attempt to again subordinate their country to Portugal, Pedro was presented with a petition containing 8000 signatures begging him not to leave. In a historical reply, Pedro stated: "Since it is for the good of all and the general happiness of the Nation, I am willing. Tell the people that I am staying."
For months, Pedro attempted to maintain balance between Brazil and Portugal until September 7th, 1822, when the Portuguese Court sent notice that it would not accept self-governance in Brazil and would punish all who disobeyed its orders. It took Pedro but a few seconds to make a decision, mounted on his horse, by the banks of the Ipiranga River in Sao Paulo, Pedro declared: "Friends, the Portuguese Cortes wished to enslave and persecute us. As of today our bonds are ended. By my blood, by my honor, by my God, I swear to bring about the independence of Brazil. Brazilians, let our watchword from this day forth be 'Independence or Death!'.
The "coronation piece" made in hurry to be presented to guests of honor at the Inauguration Ball on December 1st, 1822, is undoubtedly the most important and charismatic piece of Brazilian numismatics.
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