NGC-certified "Una and the Lion" Realizes Over $900,000

Posted on 5/7/2020

One of the highest-graded examples of a British coinage masterpiece roared in the Taisei Coins auction.

A famous British rarity certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) realized 99,475,000 Yen (about $930,000 USD) including the buyer's premium 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 $930,000 sum is $470,000 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).

1839 Victoria Gold “Una and the Lion” Five Pounds. Realized: 99,475,000 Yen (about $930,000 USD)
Click images to enlarge.

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 Mr. 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 $930,000 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.

NGC certification helps to facilitate online and phone sales by providing an expert, impartial and trusted assessment of a coin’s authenticity, description and grade. Every NGC-certified coin is backed by the comprehensive NGC Guarantee of authenticity and grade.

"Collectors and dealers around the world trust NGC's expert and impartial certification," said Mr. 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:

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.

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