HomeAuctionsHeralded 15-Piece “Una and the Lion” Proof Set; Unique 150 Balboa in...

Heralded 15-Piece “Una and the Lion” Proof Set; Unique 150 Balboa in Gold, Lead Stack’s Bowers NYINC World Coin Auction

By CoinWeek …..
One of the most impressive Proof sets in the history of British numismatics is the 15-piece 1839 set.

Struck at the beginning of the reign of Queen Victoria, this mixed-metal set includes the very rare and very beautiful “Una and the Lion” five-pound gold coin.

Designed by William Wyon, the Una and the Lion motif that adorns the reverse puts a youthful likeness of the Queen in the role of Una, one of the main protagonists in Edmund Spenser’s 1590 epic poem The Faerie Queene. Spenser’s work is said to have been a favorite of the court of Queen Elizabeth I.

The example offered by Stack’s Bowers as part of their Session B – Ancients, Selections from The Richard Stuart Collection & World Coins, Part I (January 13, 2017) is certified PF63 Ultra Cameo by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and has a value of well over $100,000 USD.

Also included in the set is a gold sovereign (NGC PF 64 Cameo), a Plain Edge half sovereign (NGC PF 64 Ultra Cameo), and a handsome compliment of crowns and minor coinage, many displaying original toning that was imparted onto the coins by the indigo blue velvet plush case that the coins were originally housed in.

Stack’s Bowers estimates the value of the set to be between $200,000 and $300,000. If sold individually, the coins would likely command a price at or beyond the upper estimate.

Unexpected is the two-coin offering from Panama (Lot 2184), a silver 1947 Balboa and a unique off-metal striking gold “1947” 150 Balboa from the Richard Stuart Collection.

The Balboa coins feature the inspired artwork of Roberto Lewis and William Clark Noble and is one of the most elegant coin designs of the 20th century. Struck at the Philadelphia Mint for circulation in Panama, this type was produced sporadically, seeing production in just three years: 1931, 1934, and 1947.

NGC grades the Richard Stuart piece MS64. Of intense interest is the gold 150 Balboa. This piece is unlisted in the standard references and is thought to be unique.

According to Stack’s Bowers, the piece was likely produced in the 1970s using modified original dies. Panamanian collector coins were struck and marketed in the 1970s by the Franklin Mint, but there is no clear indication that this example is tied to that enterprise.

Three small privy marks are located behind the bust truncation, one is likely a purity mark; the other two remain undefined. Trace evidence of die rust and other markers tie the 150 Balboa dies to an original Balboa die from the 1947.

NGC grades this remarkable piece MS67.

We expect significant interest in this piece. Stack’s Bowers’ estimate is between $20,000 and $30,000.

Coinweek is the top independent online media source for rare coin and currency news, with analysis and information contributed by leading experts across the numismatic spectrum.

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