Home Betting Why Is the Una and the Lion So Valuable?

Why Is the Una and the Lion So Valuable?

by Scott Kacsmar
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Una and The Lion

Coin aficionados are probably familiar with the Una and the Lion, a rare British 5-pound gold coin from the Victorian era. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful coins ever created. 

But before you think you can add one to your coin collection, you have to recognize the price these have sold for is often staggering, reaching sums in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not over a million.

Why is the Una and the Lion so valuable? We look at its history below.

The Creation of the Una and the Lion Coin

The Una and the Lion is a British gold coin worth 5 pounds that depicts Queen Victoria, who reigned as the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from June 1837 when she was just 18 years old until her death in 1901.

That long reign, which was longer than any of her predecessors, is known as the Victorian era.

To commemorate her reign’s beginning, a coin was created by William Wyon, a chief engraver at the Royal Mint. He would go on to design at least 43 different coins that were issued in England, but his most famous design was the Una and the Lion for Queen Victoria.

Production of the gold coin began in 1839, and they were meant to be for collectors rather than put in circulation.

Only a few hundred coins were produced, and there were variations that used different metals, or a different hairband on the queen’s head, types of edge types, and the inscription on the back was also changed for some.

Of all the British 5-pound coins, the Una and the Lion was the lightest, weighing 38.7-39.3 grams.

What Does the Coin Look Like and What Is the Meaning of the Name?

The design of the coin explains why it is called the Una and the Lion:

Una and The Lion Front and Back

On the obverse (front) of the coin, Queen Victoria’s head is displayed along with an inscription of the Latin phrase “VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIARUM REGINA F: D:” This means “Victoria by the Grace of God, Queen of the British Territories, Defender of the Faith.”

The reverse (back) of the coin has Queen Victoria walking alongside a lion. On the most common variant, the Latin phrase “DIRIGE DEUS GRESSUS MEOS” is inscribed, which means “May God direct my steps.” Underneath the lion, the Roman Numerals MDCCCXXXIX appear, which is for 1839.

You probably are still wondering who Una is. The reference there is Lady Una, a character in Edmund Spenser’s poem The Faerie Queene, which was first published in 1590. It is one of the longest poems ever written at over 36,000 lines, and it both praises and critiques Queen Elizabeth I in a tale that includes warrior women, knights, and beasts.

This was a controversial design choice at the time since no other British monarch had ever been depicted on a coin as a fictional character. Posing as Una, Victoria holds a scepter while the lion, Lady Una’s guardian, symbolizes England.

How Much Have These Coins Sold For?

With any coin, its value is based on a few key characteristics, including its condition, rarity, and historical significance. Given the Una and the Lion only had a select number of coins made in the 1800s, it certainly delivers on the rarity and historical significance every time.

At a May 2020 auction, a certified Una and the Lion gold coin sold for about $810,000. This is significant because the exact same coin sold for 340,000 pounds in 2017, so it doubled in value in just 3 years.

Driving up the popularity in 2020 was no doubt the 2019 reissue of the Una and the Lion by the Royal Mint, which launched a Great Engravers series in November 2019 that included the coin in 6 denominations.

There was a single 5-kilogram coin version that measured 175 millimeters in diameter that was, at the time, the largest coin ever released by the Royal Mint. Along with the other denominations that sold out quickly, their value tripled overnight as collectors pounced on the reissues.

But the originals are still highly sought after by serious collectors. In 2021, one of the finest graded Una and the Lion coins, certified by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), sold at a Heritage Auctions sale for a record $1.44 million, exceeding the previous record of $1.148 million in 2020.

So, these coins can fetch over a million given they are certified and in great condition.

Place Your Bets

With that in mind, at BetOnline, one of the top sportsbooks, there is a market for the auction/sale price of an Una and the Lion coin. The over/under is set at $375,000, which sounds fairly cheap compared to the figures we observed above.

However, no specific information is given about the condition or seller of the coin. They just have over $375,000, which seems like a low figure for a coin of this historical significance and popularity.

After all, there was a November 2022 auction for one of these coins and the starting price was approximately $335,000. Throw in some inflation, and we’ll roar our way to the over hitting.

Pick: 1839 Victoria Una & the Lion Coin – Over $375,000.5 (-130) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review to learn more)

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Scott Kacsmar
NFL football picks are Scott Kacsmar's expertise, serving as his main focus. He has contributed to various sports websites and blogs, such as NBC Sports, ESPN Insider, FiveThirtyEight, and, JoeWager. Originating from Pittsburgh, Scott maintains a love-hate connection with the Pirates.

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