Una & the Lion proof set to auction on January 13

A 15 piece British 1839 Una & the Lion proof set is expected to make $200,000-300,000.

The collection will cross the block at Stack’s Bowers' coin auction in New York on January 13.

The star is undoubtedly the £5 Una & the Lion proof - designed by Royal Mint chief engraver William Wyon and regarded by many as the most beautiful British coin.

Una Lion coin

The Una & the Lion coin was inspired by Edmund Spencer's The Faerie Queene

It depicts Queen Victoria in the guise of Lady Una, a figure from Edmund Spencer’s 16th century poem The Faerie Queene. 

The front shows an image of the young queen in profile, while on the reverse she’s depicted walking alongside a lion representing the British Empire.

It was produced for collectors and never issued in regular circulation.

Only a couple of hundred were produced.

Also included is a complete set of 14 proofs for 1839, ranging from a Maundy penny to a sovereign.

The auction house comments: “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 of the auction include a British gold 1656 Oliver Cromwell plain edge pattern half broad that was minted from the original dies in London in 1738.

Only a handful of these coins are known to exist.

It’s expected to make around $25,000-35,000.

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