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Famous British Rarity Una and the Lion Gold Coin Realizes Over $800,000

Famous British Rarity Una and the Lion Gold Coin Realizes Over $800,000

A famous British rarity certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) realized 86,500,000 Yen (about $810,000 USD) in a Taisei Coins auction. The 1839 Victoria “Una and the Lion” Gold Five Pounds graded NGC PF 65 Ultra Cameo was the star of the sale that concluded May 3, 2020.

The incredible $810,000 sum is $350,000 higher than the price this exact coin realized when it was sold at auction less than three years ago. In that sale, it realized £340,000 (about $460,000 USD).

The result in the Taisei auction affirms both the strength of the collectible coin market and the value of NGC certification.

“Our bidders trust NGC,” said Masahiro Oka, President of Taisei Coins Corp., a respected numismatics firm based in Tokyo. “As a result, they bid this NGC-certified rarity to a world-record price.”

The $810,000 price is the highest ever paid for an Una and the Lion coin and one of the highest ever paid for any British coin. It is also the highest price realized by an individual coin in a Taisei auction.

The Taisei auction was originally scheduled to be conducted during the Tokyo International Coin Convention (TICC), Japan’s premier numismatic event. Although the TICC was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus, the Taisei auction was still held with bidding conducted online and over the phone.

“Collectors and dealers around the world trust NGC’s expert and impartial certification,” said Mark Salzberg, NGC Chairman and Grading Finalizer. “NGC’s services are even more important now, when people may not be able to see the coins in hand before bidding or buying.”

Only around 400 examples were struck of the 1839 “Una and the Lion” Five Pounds, which is generally regarded as the most beautiful coin in British numismatics. The coins were struck to celebrate Victoria, who became Queen of England in 1837 at the age of 18. Her 63-year reign is one of the longest by any monarch.

The coin’s obverse features a beautifully executed bust of the young queen, framed by the legend VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIARUM REGINA F: D:, which is Latin for “Victoria by the Grace of God, Queen of the British territories, Defender of the Faith.”

The more famous reverse also features Victoria, this time as Lady Una, a character from Edmund Spenser’s 1590 poem “The Faerie Queene”. She is pictured directing a lion (a symbol of England). The memorable scene is surrounded by the Latin motto DIRIGE DEUS GRESSUS MEOS, which translates to “May the Lord direct my steps.”

Other NGC-certified highlights from the Taisei sale included:

  • a Germany 1733 Gold 10 Ducat graded NGC MS 61 that realized ¥5,500,000 (about $51,600 USD)
  • a 1791 Great Britain Gold Half Penny graded NGC PF 63 Ultra Cameo that realized ¥4,000,000 (about $37,500 USD)
  • a Japan M3 (1870) Type 1 Yen graded NGC Mint Error AU 55 (Mirror Brockage on Reverse) that realized ¥3,600,000 (about $33,800 USD)
  • a 12-coin George V Gold and Silver 12-Coin Proof set graded NGC PF 62 to NGC PF 67 that realized ¥2,800,000 (about $26,300 USD)
  • a Great Britain 1839 Crown graded NGC PF 62 Cameo that realized ¥2,400,000 (about $22,500 USD)
  • an Austria 1857A 2 Thaler graded NGC MS 66 PL that realized ¥2,200,000 (about $20,600 USD)

Taisei has served the collecting community in Japan for more than half a century. It is also an NGC Official Submission Center in Japan. For more information about Taisei, go to or call +81 03-3590-8222.

Numismatic Guaranty Company
Numismatic Guaranty Company
NGC was founded in 1987 and has become one of the largest third-party grading services. Their parent company is the Certified Collectibles Group (CCG).

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