The Original 1839 Una and the Lion Five Pounds coin is widely considered to be the most beautiful British coin ever minted.
It was designed and first struck in 1839 as a celebration of the beginning of the young Queen Victoria’s reign and to coincide with her twentieth birthday. The coin was the work of the Royal Mint Chief engraver William Wyon, who drew his theme from Edmund Spenser’s 16th century epic poem Faerie Queene. The stunning piece depicts a graceful and elegant young Victoria as the character Una, whom Spenser had used in his poem to represent truth, gently guiding the British lion.
The message is clear – the graceful young monarch is leading a powerful beast and whilst she herself may only be a young woman the strength and power that she wields, that she has at her command, is formidable. The exact number of Una and the Lion coins minted is believed to be 400, all of which were struck in proof quality and probably not intended for circulation.
They appear rarely on the market but when they do, they can command huge prices. Now however, this beautiful coin has been reproduced in stunning and amazing detail by The Commonwealth Mint, the UK’s premier private mint. Digitally remodelled from the original reverse design, ensuring all of Wyon’s work is flawlessly rendered as accurately as possible, this new British Isles Proof 100 Pounds coin from Alderney is struck in .999 silver and has the personal approval of Her Majesty the Queen. There will only ever be 400 of these new Una and the Lion coins available, matching the original number minted.
With her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II gracing the obverse these new coins are dated 2019 – exactly 180 years on from the first Una and the Lion pieces and 200 years since the birth of Victoria, the woman who inspired them.