10 Cruzados of Manuel I of Portugal

Photo: Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum CC By SA2.0
Issued by: Manuel I of Portugal
Denomination: 10 Cruzados
Mint: None
Period: Medieval
Date found: 06/07/2022
Location: Wiltshire


This gold 10 cruzados of Manuel I of Portugal is the first coin of its type to be recorded by the PAS. It has therefore been designated a Find of Note of Regional Importance. Apart from the punch mark it is in really good condition.

Manuel I of Portugal

The reign of Manuel I, from 1495 to 1521, was a triumph and its achievements are felt to this day. He managed to harness the resources of his geographically small nation to build a large empire and made him the wealthiest king in Europe. His success was based on supporting sea navigation, and exploiting the new found sea routes and colonies to establish a vast trade empire.

Shortly after becoming king, his sponsorship of Vasco de Gama led to the discovery of the sea route to India, which led to Portugal having a monopoly on the spice trade. A couple of years later, Pedro Álvares Cabral discovered Brazil. From 1503 – 1515 Manuel went on to capture strategic ports such as Aden, Ormuz and Malacca. This enabled him to control the important trade routes to Persia, India and China.


One of the issues with all this success is that you acquire a lot of titles, which you’ll want to display on your coins.

On the obverse the outer legends reads (with retrograde N throughout) :I: EMANVEL: R: PORTVGALIE: AL. C: VL. IN. A: D: G:. The inner legend reads C. ETHIOPIE: ARABIE: PERSIE: I: C. N: (again with retrograde N). The gives “Manuel I, King of Portugal and the Algarves, of the Lands before and beyond Africa, Lord of Guinea” and continues on the inner legend “Conquest, Navigation and Commerce of Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia and India

In hoc signo vinces

The legend accompanying the cross on the reverse reads IN HOC SIGNO VINCES “In this sign thou shalt conquer“. It is based on the story that Emperor Constantine I saw vision of a cross of light above the sun on his way to a battle and in a dream that night Jesus told him to use the cross against his enemies. The Kingdom of Portugal had used this motto since 1139. (It was also part of the trademark for Pall Mall cigarettes).