Brazilian cruzeiro (1970–1986)

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Example of a 1 cruzeiro note, portraying the effigy of the Republic
ISO 4217
Banknotes1, 5, 10, 50,
100, 200, 500,
1,000, 5,000,
10,000, 50,000 and 100,000 cruzeiros
Coins1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 centavos
1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 cruzeiros
Date of introduction15 May 1970
ReplacedCruzeiro Novo
Date of withdrawal27 February 1986
Replaced byCruzado
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.

The cruzeiro was the currency of Brazil between 1970 and 1986. It is the second of the 3 historical Brazilian currencies called "cruzeiro".

In 1967, Brazil introduced the "cruzeiro novo" ("new cruzeiro", a name that only appeared on the provisional issue of banknotes) as a transitional currency, with 1 cruzeiro novo equal to 1000 "old" cruzeiros. It was then renamed to simply "cruzeiro" in 1970.[1]

In 1986, the country switched to the cruzado, at a rate of 1 cruzado = 1000 cruzeiros.[2]



On 13 November 1965, the "cruzeiro novo" (lit. new cruzeiro) was created as a transitional currency to replace the devalued "old" cruzeiro, and was set to be used until the Conselho Monetário Nacional [pt] (lit. National Monetary Council) decided the national currency could once again be called "cruzeiro".[3]

On 31 March 1970, the Central Bank of Brazil announced new bill designs, and published a resolution determining the national currency would once again be called "cruzeiro" starting from 15 May 1970.[3] On that date also began the withdrawal of cruzeiro novo bills, which could be exchanged for the new bills and coins of the cruzeiro being implemented. The transition from the cruzeiro novo to the cruzeiro was set to end on 1 October 1970, when the "cruzeiro novo" name would officially become obsolete, and cruzeiro novo bills would no longer be legal tender.[4]



Coins were introduced in 1967, while the currency was still called cruzeiro novo, in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 centavos. After the currency was renamed to simply "cruzeiro", these coins remained in used, followed by the issue of 1 cruzeiro coins on 15 May 1970.[3]

The 1, 2 and 5 centavos were struck in stainless steel, with the higher denominations struck in cupro-nickel or nickel, replaced by stainless steel in 1974 and 1975 except for the 1 cruzeiro. Between 1979 and 1981, stainless-steel 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cruzeiros were introduced, followed by smaller, stainless-steel 100, 200 and 500 cruzeiros in 1985.

Coins up to 5 centavos for first series were withdrawn in 1980. Other "centavo" denominations were worthless in 1984.[citation needed]

First series[edit]

Most of the first series of the cruzeiro were very similar in design, portraying the effigy of the Republic on the obverse.

First series of standard circulating coins of the Cruzeiro (1970–1986)
Reverse Obverse Value Minting period Obverse description Withdrawn
0,01-cruzeiro-novo-1967-reverso.png 0,01-cruzeiro-novo-1967-anverso.png Cr$0.01 1975 Portrays the effigy of the Republic 31 dec 1980
0,02-cruzeiro-novo-1967-reverso.png 0,02-cruzeiro-novo-1967-anverso.png Cr$0.02
0,05-cruzeiro-novo-1969-reverso.png 0,05-cruzeiro-novo-1969-anverso.png Cr$0.05
10 centavos Brazilian cruzeiro (1974) reverse.JPG 10 centavos Brazilian cruzeiro (1974) front.JPG Cr$0.10 1974–1979 15 aug 1984
0,20-cruzeiro-novo-1977-reverso.png 0,20-cruzeiro-novo-1977-anverso.png Cr$0.20 1975–1979
50 centavos Brazilian cruzeiro (1970) reverse.JPG 50 centavos Brazilian cruzeiro (1970) front.JPG Cr$0.50 1970–1979
1-cruzeiro-novo-1976-reverso.png 1-cruzeiro-novo-1976-anverso.png Cr$1.00 1974–1978 28 feb 1986

The series also had a few circulating commemorative coins.

First series of circulating commemorative coins of the Cruzeiro (1970–1986)
Reverse Obverse Value Minting period Description Withdrawn
0,01-cruzeiro-novo-1975-fao-reverso.png 0,01-cruzeiro-novo-1975-fao-anverso.png Cr$0.01 1975–1978 Celebrates the Food and Agriculture Organization 31 dec 1980
0,02-cruzeiro-novo-1975-fao-reverso.png 0,02-cruzeiro-novo-1975-fao-anverso.png Cr$0.02
0,05-cruzeiro-novo-1975-fao-reverso.png 0,05-cruzeiro-novo-1975-fao-anverso.png Cr$0.05
1-cruzeiro-novo-1972-independencia-reverso.png 1-cruzeiro-novo-1972-independencia-anverso.png Cr$1.00 1972 Commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the Independence of Brazil (1822–1972) 28 feb 1986

Non-circulating commemorative coins were also minted.

First series of non-circulating commemorative coins of the Cruzeiro (1970–1986)
Reverse Obverse Value Minting period Description
(missing photo) (missing photo) Cr$10.00 1975 Commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Central Bank of Brazil (1964–1974)
(missing photo) (missing photo) Cr$20.00 1972 Commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Independence of Brazil (1822–1972)
(missing photo) (missing photo) Cr$300.00

Second series[edit]

Due to inflation and currency devaluation, the cruzeiro gradually shifted towards higher and integer denominations. The second series reflected this, with common circulation coins of Cr$20 and Cr$50. Curiously, a Cr$0.01 (1 centavo) coin continued to be produced until 1983, even though it had little to no value at the time. In contrast, the 10 and 50 centavos coins had proof mintings, but were never released to the public; the second lowest denomination was the Cr$1 coin.

Second series of standard circulating coins of the Cruzeiro (1970–1986)
Reverse Obverse Value Minting period Obverse description Withdrawn
0,01-cruzeiro-novo-1981-reverso.png 0,01-cruzeiro-novo-1981-anverso.png Cr$0.01 1979–1983 Portrays soybeans 15 aug 1984
Unreleased Unreleased Cr$0.10 N/A Portrays a pair of fish N/A
Unreleased Unreleased Cr$0.50 N/A Portrays an ox N/A
1-cruzeiro-novo-1980-reverso.png 1-cruzeiro-novo-1980-anverso.png Cr$1.00 1979–1984 Portrays sugarcanes 28 feb 1986
5-cruzeiros-novos-1983-reverso.png 5-cruzeiros-novos-1983-anverso.png Cr$5.00 1980–1984 Portrays a coffee plant
10-cruzeiros-novos-1985-reverso.png 10-cruzeiros-novos-1985-anverso.png Cr$10.00 1980–1984 Portrays a map of Brazil's main roads 30 jun 1987
20-cruzeiros-novos-1984-reverso.png 20-cruzeiros-novos-1984-anverso.png Cr$20.00 1981–1986 Portrays the Church of São Francisco de Assis in Ouro Preto
50 Cruzeiros BRB de 1985.png 50 Cruzeiros BRB de 1985 (verso).png Cr$50.00 1981–1986 Portrays the Plano Piloto, a map of Brasília

The second series also featured commemorative coins celebrating the Food and Agriculture Organization.

Second series of circulating commemorative coins of the Cruzeiro (1970–1986)
Reverse Obverse Value Minting period Description Withdrawn
1-cruzeiro-novo-1985-fao-reverso.png 1-cruzeiro-novo-1985-fao-anverso.png Cr$1.00 1985 Celebrates the Food and Agriculture Organization 28 feb 1986
5-cruzeiros-novos-1985-fao-reverso.png 5-cruzeiros-novos-1985-fao-anverso.png Cr$5.00

Third series[edit]

Similarly to the increase in value from each coin of the first series to the second series, the third series featured very high denominations of the cruzeiro.

Third series of standard circulating coins of the Cruzeiro (1970–1986)
Reverse Obverse Value Minting period Obverse description Withdrawn
100-cruzeiros-novos-1985-reverso.png 100-cruzeiros-novos-1985-anverso.png Cr$100.00 1985–1986 Portrays the coat of arms of Brazil 30 jun 1987
200-cruzeiros-novos-1985-reverso.png 200-cruzeiros-novos-1985-anverso.png Cr$200.00
500-cruzeiros-novos-1986-reverso.png 500-cruzeiros-novos-1986-anverso.png Cr$500.00


In 1967, provisional issues for the cruzeiro novo were made consisting of "old" cruzeiro notes which were overstamped with the values 1, 5, 10 and 50 centavos, and 1, 5 and 10 cruzeiros novos. These notes were withdrawn between 1972 and 1975.[citation needed]

In 1970, regular issues of cruzeiro notes were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 cruzeiros.[3]

Notes of 500 cruzeiros were introduced in 1972, followed by 1000 cruzeiros in 1978.[citation needed] In 1981, a new series of banknotes was issued in values of 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 5000 cruzeiros.[citation needed] Banknotes up to 50 cruzeiros of the previous series were replaced by coins by 1984 and 10,000 and 50,000 cruzeiro banknotes were introduced, followed by 100,000 cruzeiros in 1985, by which time notes up to 500 cruzeiros had been replaced by coins.[citation needed]

Exchange rates[edit]

Official exchange rates
(end of period)
Cruzeiros per U.S. dollar
Date Rate Date Rate
1970 4.86 1980 64.21
1971 5.63 1981 125.42
1972 6.18 1982 244.86
1973 6.22 1983 940
1974 7.44 1984 3008
1975 9.07 1985 9855
1976 12.35 1986
1977 15.80
1978 20.47
1979 42.53


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Resolução Nº 144" (PDF) (in português). Central Bank of Brazil. 31 March 1970. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Decreto-Lei Nº 2.283" (in português). Casa Civil [pt]. 27 February 1986. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Govêrno divulga as novas cédulas do cruzeiro" [Government reveals new cruzeiro bills]. Jornal do Brasil (in português). National Library of Brazil. 1 April 1970.
  4. "Nôvo no Cr$ vale até setembro nos cheques" ['Novo' on Cr$ valid until September on checks]. Jornal do Commercio (in português). National Library of Brazil. 15 May 1970.
Brazilian cruzeiro
Preceded by:
Cruzeiro Novo
Reason: currency renaming
Ratio: at par
Currency of Brazil
15 May 1970 – 27 February 1986
Succeeded by:
Reason: inflation
Ratio: 1 cruzado = 1000 cruzeiros

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