These are really neat old silver coins. Some are very valuable, others are not. The basic pattern is the Jerusalem Cross on one side with the words IN HOC SIGNO VINCES (in this sign you will conquer) and a crowned shield on the other side with the name of a Portugese ruler and some form of PORT ET ALG (Portugal and Algarve; Algarve is the southern region of Portugual) REX (king). The denomination, 200 reis or 400 reis, appears on the side with the shield, as does the date. Sometimes there is no date.
The beautiful coin in our picture comes from Chris'Numismatique in Ennery, France. It is on sale for 80 euros (about $100 US dollars), which is a good price for such a nice looking specimen. CoinQuest thanks Chris'Numismatique for use of their coin image.
The rulers names are:
Peter II 1667 to 1706
John V 1706 to 1750
Jose (Joseph) 1750 to 1777
Maria I and Pedro III 1777 to 1786
Maria I 1786 to 1759
Joao 1799 to 1816
(Note to Philbert: You did not give us much to go on, and this is our best guess at your coin. Note that a JOSEPHUS inscription is not consistent with your 1778 date. If your coin has both JOSEPHUS and 1778, please contact CoinQuest for further investigation.)
We can give a general idea of value of these on this page, but if you have a nice looking coin you should probably contact a knowledgeable coin dealer or coin collector for an in-person evaluation. There are subtle differences in these coins and sometimes the differences create quite a swing in value. We identify a few such swings below.
The listings below are approximate catalog values. Use our Terminology page to properly interpret them.
200 REIS BEFORE 1685:
average circulated: $1000
well preserved: $3000
200 REIS 1686 TO 1816:
average circulated: $200
well preserved: $400
400 REIS BEFORE 1687:
average circulated: $1500
well preserved: $4000
400 REIS 1687 TO 1816
average circulated: $300
well preserved: $800
The dates below are more common and worth roughly half the amounts shown:
200 REIS: 1686 to 1689, 1747 to 1768, 1780 to 1782
400 REIS: 1689 to 1691, 1805 to 1816
The dates below are more rare and worth roughly twice the amounts shown:
200 REIS: 1708, 1821
400 REIS: 1686, 1702