An 1839 Una & the Lion proof set has sold for $376,000.
The 16-piece lot led an auction of world and ancient coins at Stack’s Bowers in New York on January 13.
The Una & the Lion proof £5 is one of the most beautiful British coins
The Una & the Lion £5 proof is considered one of the most beautiful British coins of all time.
Royal Mint chief engraver William Wyon was behind the design.
It was minted just after Queen Victoria turned 20 and shows the young ruler as the character of Una, from Edmund Spencer’s 16th century poem The Faerie Queene.
She walks alongside a lion, representing the British Empire.
Only a few hundred were ever produced and it was never put into circulation.
The lot also included 15 proof coins issued during 1839, from a Maundy penny up to a sovereign.
The auction house said prior to the sale: “The set has clearly been together since it was issued, likely stored in the original box for much of that time as indicated by the nicely matched patinas.
“Though the box is no longer present, the coins have been handled carefully over the years.”
Other highlights included a gold Cromwell pattern half broad, which realised $64,625.
The dies for the coin date to 1658.
This edition was minted as a limited edition run for collectors in 1738. With a grading of Proof-65 cameo, it’s among the best on the market.
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