United Kingdom: Coin Five Pounds 1839 (Proof only) - detailed information

United Kingdom: Coin Five Pounds 1839 (Proof only)
CoinFive Pounds 1839 (Proof only)

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 she 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.

MintRoyal Mint
Obverse
United Kingdom / Five Pounds 1839 (Proof only) - obverse photo

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
United Kingdom / Five Pounds 1839 (Proof only) - reverse photo

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 InscriptionDECUS ET TUTAMEN. ANNO REGNI TERTIO.
Notes

Most coins have the DIRIGE legend. Even though Spink explicitly lists the type as "Proof only", these and some other varieties are not valued as proofs in the catalogue valuations.

The "ordinary" coins (i.e. not a "variety") are taken to be those described by Spink as "DIRIGE legend, plain edge" [NOT proof].

Although these coins were released as Proof FDC only, Spink remarks that "Truly FDC 1839 Five Pound coins are hardly ever encountered."

Five Pounds 1839 (Proof only): Known varieties
Variety DIRIGIT legend, inscribed edge, not proof
Mintage unknown
DetailsCoin alignment.
Variety DIRIGIT legend struck on thick flan, not proof
Mintage unknown
Variety DIRIGIT legend, plain edge, not proof
Mintage unknown
DetailsCoin alignment.
Variety DIRIGE legend, 13 leaves to rear fillet, proof
Mintage unknown
Variety DIRIGE legend, plain edge, proof
Mintage unknown
Variety DIRIGE legend, 9 leaves to rear fillet, not proof
Mintage unknown
Variety DIRIGIT legend, plain edge, proof
Mintage unknown
Five Pounds 1839 (Proof only): References to Information Used
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Five Pounds 1839 (Proof only): Details
CountryUnited Kingdom
CurrencyPound Sterling (pre-decimal)
PeriodPound Sterling (pre-decimal) (1801 - 1971)
Coin TypeFive Pounds (Pre-decimal)
Issued1839
MonarchQueen Victoria
EffigyPortrait by William Wyon (Young Head)
Face Value5 (x Pound)
CurrentNo (demonetised 1971)
Mintage400
Material0.9167 Gold
DesignerWilliam Wyon
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
Size (mm)36
Mass (g)39.9403
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Five Pounds 1839 (Proof only): Photos
ImageDetails
Pattern Coin - 5 Pounds, Queen Victoria, Great Britain, 1839
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
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Source
Pattern Coin - 5 Pounds, Queen Victoria, Great Britain, 1839
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Source
Great Britain 1839 5 pounds
Copyright: CoinFactsWiki / CC BY-SA
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Source
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, Coins of England and the United Kingdom3851