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    Enchanting Una and the Lion 5 Pounds

    Victoria gold Proof "Una and the Lion" 5 Pounds 1839 PR62+ Deep Cameo PCGS, KM742, S-3851, W&R-278. By William Wyon, lettered edge. A true work of art, a piece widely considered to be one of the most beautiful coins ever produced. Introduced as part of Victoria's inaugural Proof Set, Wyon chose to represent the young Victoria on this 5 Pounds as Una, the protagonist in the first volume of the Elizabethan poem "The Faerie Queen" by Edmund Spencer. Although recognized for his talent, Wyon had been somewhat in competition with Benedetto Pistrucci, the engraver known for his celebrated depiction of St. George and the Dragon; a design whose dynamic and dramatic composition of man and beast has led to it still being displayed on English sovereigns today. The present coin represents Wyon's answer to Pistrucci, his magnum opus, consisting of the same basic ingredients yet creating a far gentler scene; the young Victoria as Una, only 20 years old but still radiating power and poise, leading the lion, a representation of the British Empire. Wyon must have realized the quality of his work, the numismatic masterpiece he had just created, but he cannot possibly have fathomed just how long his design would remain in the hearts of all those who love British coinage.

    The present example of this much beloved type boasts true beauty, its high quality recognized through the 'plus' designation assigned by PCGS. Wyon's iconic engraving has been perfectly struck up in frosty high relief, the matte devices encountering no wear and only extremely limited handling; the reflective fields exhibit some hairlines subduing the Proof contrast, and these hairlines serve as the sole (minor) detraction preventing this piece from entering a higher grade level. As any seasoned numismatist can tell you, gold comes in a range of colors, and this offering boasts glorious deep goldenrod surfaces, giving a classic 'aged-gold' look so often lost on these Proofs. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine how the eye-appeal of this piece could be far improved, being of immaculate design, impeccable production quality and sublime preservation. An all-round delight to behold, an extraordinary specimen of the world's favorite 5 Pound Coin and an offering sure to elicit considerable excitement amongst the highest tier collectors of British gold.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2019
    6th-7th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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    The pre-sale publicity was more than I imagined, and the actual catalog better than I had expected - and my expectations were high!
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