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Detailed information about Coin: Five Pounds 1839 (Proof only) from United Kingdom

Coin: Five Pounds 1839 (Proof only)
Description

This coin is known as the Una and the Lion Five Pound piece.

It was ultimately derived from a poem, The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser in praise of Queen Elizabeth I published in 1590. In that poem Una is the personification of the "True Church" and also representative of Truth at one point tames a lion by her beauty and honesty. The lion then travels with her both as a guard and to undertake deeds.

On the coin, by William Wyon, Una is Queen Victoria. She is wearing a crown and guiding the lion with her sceptre while holding an orb.

It is a classic of the Victorian Age in both style and sentiment, and one of master engraver William Wyon's masterpieces, with a modest mintage in the hundreds. It was only minted on demand from the time it first appeared in the Coronation sets.

This large, glamorous type always makes the front cover of any auction catalog in which it appears.

CountryUnited Kingdom CurrencyPound Sterling (pre-decimal)
Face value5 (x Pound) TypeFive Pounds (Pre-decimal)
Year1839 CurrentNo (demonetised 1971)
Mintage400 (400)
Mints
NameMint markMintage
Royal Mint No mint mark 400 (400)
Material0.917 Gold DesignerWilliam Wyon
MonarchQueen Victoria EffigyPortrait by William Wyon (Young head)
Production technologyMilled (machine-made) ShapeRound
Size (mm)36 Thickness (mm)
Mass (g)39.9403
Obverse

Head of Queen Victoria facing to left; around, VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIARUM REGINA F: D:; raised on base of neck, W.WYON, R.A.

Obverse inscription VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIARUM REGINA F: D:
Reverse

Victoria standing holding orb in left hand and directing lion to left with sceptre extended in right hand; in exergue, MDCCCXXXIX / W.WYON R.A.; around, DIRIGE DEUS GRESSUS MEOS (translation, May the Lord direct my steps; some coins say DIRIGIT instead of DIRIGE - The Lord directs my steps).

Reverse inscription

DIRIGE DEUS GRESSUS MEOS. MDCCCXXXIX.

EdgeInscribed (raised lettering) Edge inscription

DECUS ET TUTAMEN. ANNO REGNI TERTIO.

Five Pounds 1839 (Proof only): Known varieties
VarietyMintageDetails
Plain edge unknown
Five Pounds 1839 (Proof only): Photos
Five Pounds 1839 (Proof only): Photo Pattern Coin - 5 Pounds, Queen Victoria, Great Britain, 1839
Pattern Coin - 5 Pounds, Queen Victoria, Great Britain, 1839
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
source
Five Pounds 1839 (Proof only): Photo Pattern Coin - 5 Pounds, Queen Victoria, Great Britain, 1839
Pattern Coin - 5 Pounds, Queen Victoria, Great Britain, 1839
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
source
Five Pounds 1839 (Proof only): Photo Great Britain 1839 5 pounds
Great Britain 1839 5 pounds
Copyright: CoinFactsWiki / CC BY-SA
Author:
source
Five Pounds 1839 (Proof only): Photo Great Britain 1839 5 pounds
Great Britain 1839 5 pounds
Copyright: CoinFactsWiki / CC BY-SA
Author:
source
Five Pounds 1839 (Proof only): Catalogue Reference IDs
SourceReference ID
Friedberg, Gold Coins of the WorldGreat Britain 243 (Lettered edge) and 244 (Plain)
Krause, Standard Catalog of World CoinsGreat Britain KM# 742
Spink/Seaby, Coins of England and the United Kingdom3851
Five Pounds 1839 (Proof only): References to Information Used
SourceEditionAboutLinkNotes
Museums Victoria Collections 2016 Coin description link
Remick, Catalogue of British Commonwealth Coins 1971 Mint
Krause, Standard Catalog of World Coins 1971 Mintage
Friedberg, Gold Coins of the World 1965 Varieties Plain edge
Museums Victoria Collections 2016 Design link
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Five Pounds 1839 (Proof only): Some useful external links
Museums Victoria: Pattern Coin - 5 Pounds, Queen Victoria, Great Britain, 1839 Great Britain 1839 5 pounds - CoinFactsWiki
List of all (11) coins of type: United Kingdom / Five Pounds (Pre-decimal)
Five Pounds 1820 (Pattern) Five Pounds 1826 (Proof only) Five Pounds 1831 (Pattern) Five Pounds 1839 (Proof only) Five Pounds 1887 Five Pounds 1893
Five Pounds 1902 Five Pounds 1911 (Proof only) Five Pounds 1937 Edward VIII (not released) Five Pounds 1937 (Proof only) Five Pounds 1953 (not released)