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August ANA World Coin recap – Lot 21116 Iconic “Una and the Lion” Proof Set

Far and away the most prestigious world coins sold at last week’s Stack’s Bowers Galleries August 2018 ANA Auction was the set that features one of the most recognizable English coins. Lot 21116 realized $432,000 (includes the buyer’s premium). Rightly considered one of the most spectacular English coin designs to date, the Una and the Lion Pattern 5 Pound by itself would warrant a feature here. This piece was not alone however; it was accompanied by all denominations from the Farthing to the Sovereign, including the Maundy set. This 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. Thankfully the original box is present, though each coin is housed in a PCGS holder.

The powerhouse of this group, the Una and the Lion 5 Pound, is known for its beautiful and wonderfully detailed reverse design by William Wyon, chief engraver of the Royal Mint. His exceptional talent is evident with the stately Queen Victoria, as Una, in full coronation regalia with a globus cruciger and holding a scepter horizontally over a massive lion. This scene alludes to the story of the mythical Una, the young daughter of a knight. The story goes that while Una was walking alone in the woods she was set upon by a ravenous lion. Instead of devouring her as a hapless victim the lion was overcome by her beauty and became her companion instead. The lion, a clear symbol of British strength, is used to show that though the ascending monarch was a young woman, she should be taken seriously. This set is a truly remarkable and desirable property, highlighted by one of the most famous rarities of English numismatics. The condition and eye appeal must be seen to be truly appreciated.
We are currently accepting consignments of world and ancient coins and world paper money for our October 2018 Collector’s Choice Online Auction as well as the January 2019 New York International Auction. In addition, we are taking consignments of Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for our March 2019 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. Time is running short, so if you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) contact one of our consignment directors.

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