Dipping into its rich past, the Royal Mint resurrects the classic Una and the Lion for stunning new coin

It was only last month that Una and the Lion returned to the coin world with the East India Company issuing a range reinterpreting the concept with a design both updating the original, but sympathetic to its classic roots. Now it seems like the Royal Mint itself has decided to do something similar, although has stuck with a more original style, while aiming it very firmly at the high end of the market.

Firstly, the design. What a beautiful piece of classic numismatic art. There’s clearly a no compromise ethos at work here, with a highly refined reproduction of Willian Wyon’s much admired 1839 original brought back to life. It was considered a bold work on release, the first time a reigning monarch had been depicted as a fictional character on a coin, and only a few hundred were struck – it was never intended for circulation. It’s as sublime today as it was then.

Nobody would ever accuse the Royal Mint of putting out bargain basement coins, but this new range is on a whole other level. There’s a single, relatively affordable 2oz proof silver version selling for £180, but everything else is strictly for the richer collector. Five fine gold variants make up the rest, with prices starting, yes, STARTING, at £3,995. That one weighs in at 2oz, but there are 5oz (£9,995), 1kg (£59,995), 2kg (£119,950), and a single 5kg coin for a price that hasn’t been revealed, possibly for fear of causing a heart attack…

The 5kg gold coin is the largest the mint has ever released, coming in at a huge 175 mm in diameter. We can only imagine what it looks like in hand, but it’s surely in the running for most impressive coin ever released by the Royal Mint in its millennium-plus years of existence. The mintages of all are very small, adding to the desirability, but for us mere mortals, the 2oz silver coin is a fine substitute. All are available to order now through the Royal Mint website, although you’ll need to call them for the solitary 5kg coin if you want that it. Please use our affiliate link below, if you do…

PRESS RELEASE

The Royal Mint has launched its largest coins to date with the introduction of five kilo-and two-kilo pieces as part of a new Great Engravers series. Celebrating the finest artists who have worked on the British coinage, the series begins with Royal Academician William Wyon’s Una and the Lion design.

Coins of this size allow scope for the stunning detail of William Wyon’s original Una and the Lion design to be fully appreciated. The five-kilo is the largest coin that The Royal Mint has produced in its history and just one will be available. Due to its rarity and there being no similar pieces, it has already been sold. The two-kilo gold coin also has a very limited mintage of only four, making it a rare and collectable item.

A combination of traditional engraving methods and modern techniques are applied when producing the five-kilo coin. The original die used almost 200 years ago had to be digitally scanned and Chief Engraver Gordon Summers’ skills were required to ensure that the relief was faithfully reproduced, fusing past and present. Modern techniques were then called upon with lasers being used to carefully cut the design onto the five-kilo coin. Finally, the piece was hand polished to ensure the finish was elevated to the highest possible standard

Nicola Howell, Director of the Consumer Division at The Royal Mint said, “The Great Engravers series celebrates some of the finest artists that have worked on the British coinage and we are thrilled to start the series with William Wyon’s Una and the Lion design.

“This is arguably one of the most admired designs amongst coin collectors across the globe, and remastering it onto five and two-kilo coins allows you to truly appreciate the detail of the design.”

William Wyon, was the Chief Engraver at The Royal Mint from 1828 until his death in 1851 and is most famous for his coin and medal portraits of Queen Victoria. He is also well-known for his design of Una and the Lion, which is often considered by collectors as one of the world’s most beautiful coins. Struck at the start of Victoria’s reign, the original 1839 dated piece casts the young Queen in the role of Una from the poem ‘The Fairie Queene’, while the lion she guides represents the people of Britain.

GOLD
DENOMINATION £5,000 UKP £2,000 UKP £1,000 UKP £500 UKP £200 UKP
COMPOSITION 0.999 gold 0.999 gold 0.999 gold 0.999 gold 0.999 gold
WEIGHT 5010.0 grams 2010.0 grams 1005.0 grams 156.295 grams 62.213 grams
DIMENSIONS 175.0 mm 150.0 mm 1005.0 mm 156.295 mm 62.42 mm
FINISH Proof Proof Proof Proof Proof
MODIFICATIONS None None None None None
MINTAGE 1 4 7 65 205
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes
SILVER
DENOMINATION £5 UKP
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.42 grams
DIMENSIONS 40.0 mm
FINISH Proof
MODIFICATIONS None
MINTAGE 2980
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes
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