In June 1837, the still unmarried young woman became Queen Victoria. Wyon realizes the portrait with the young head that is used on the British coins from 1838 and on the postage stamps from their first emission in 1840. The very broad dissemination of this figure contributes to bring back an undeniable sympathy of the public tired with the scandals of the previous generations of the Royals.
The £ 5 gold coin of 1839 is Wyon's masterpiece. The obverse has the young head, inscribed 'Victoria DG (for Deo Gratias) Britanniarum Regina FD (for Fidei Defensor)'. The reverse stages Una and the Lion with Victoria in the role of Una and the inscription 'Dirige Deus Gressus Meos' (May the Lord direct my steps).
Una is the allegory of the True Church in a 1590 poem by Spenser. The re-use of this figure by Wyon to symbolize the hope of a healthy and strong redirection of the British monarchy will remain highly popular in England throughout Victoria's reign.
At that time the practice is already taken to use the first striken coins of a new monetary edition for presentation and for selling to numismatists. On January 13 in New York, Stack's Bowers sells as lot 2477 a complete set of the fifteen coins issued by the Royal Mint in 1839, from farthing to sovereign, in proof condition.
It is evident that this collection was gathered from the origin and has never been separated. The coins have a matching patina suggesting that they have been stored for a long time in the same box and they were inspected at the same time by NGC which graded them from Proof-63 to Proof-66. The £ 5 Victoria-Una is a magnificent Proof-63 Ultra Cameo piece. The lot is estimated in excess of $ 200K.
SOLD for $ 376K including premium