Description:During the 1500s to the 1700s, the great seafaring Catholic nation of Portugal had a global empire that included possessions in Africa, Asia and South America. Brazil was discovered in the year 1500 by Admiral Pedro Alares Cabral and claimed for Portugal. By the early 1700s, the Portuguese Empire soon became extremely rich, as they collected more gold from the newly found Brazilian mines over a few decades than Spain took from their possessions in Central and South America in over 400 years. There were also the very productive diamond and precious gemstone mines that kept the royal coffers full.
This gold coin was minted in Lisbon during the reign of Joseph I "The Reformer", who was the king of Portugal from 1750 to 1777. During his reign, Lisbon was destroyed by the great earthquake of 1755 and much of the city was rebuilt under his direction. In 1762, the Portuguese defeated the combined Spanish and French forces that invaded Portugal, while the Portuguese gained huge territory in Brazil during the 1763 - 1777 South American war against Spain.
The obverse side of this coin shows a Jerusalem cross with the Latin legend IN HOC SIGNO VINCES, translated to "In this sign thou shalt conquer." A reference to the vision of a cross, that the first Christian Roman Emperor Constantine had in 312. The reverse side shows the Portuguese crown with the legend JOSE I "Joseph I.” This type of gold coin was not produced in very large quantities and was used as a shipping trade coin at the time, throughout the Portuguese Colonial Empire.