EIC’s annual Una & the Lion coin range returns for 2024, with a new visual interpretation of the classic story

Una & the Lion, based on a poem from the 16th Century epic poem by Edmund Spencer, has been a popular motif in modern coins, mainly inspired by the beautiful William Wyon’s 1839 coin, that debuted in Victorian times at the height of British Imperial power. It depicted the impression of restrained, immense power with a young queen holding the symbols of order, standing alongside the King of the Beasts, a lion. It’s like it’s saying, we come as friends, but…

That original coin is rightly a numismatic classic, and as well as a new strike as part of the Royal Mints ‘Great Engravers’ series, was also used for the debut 2019 release in The East India Company’s (EIC) own homage to it. The Royal Mint series went on to other designs, but the EIC chose to take that design, and reimagine it on an annual basis, which they’ve undertaken four times since.

This fifth interpretation, and sixth release overall, is our favourite to date, going with something completely different from the previous designs. Employing the talents of wildlife artist, Carroll Hutchings, she’s depicted Una as a woman of nature, returning to the original story, rather than Wyon’s take, which drew from the confidence of Britain’s Victorian, world-spanning empire. There are stylistic shades of the Helvetic Mint’s ‘Dark Beauties’ designs, perhaps, but more coincidental than overt. The lion takes its traditional place, subservient to the queen, and protective of her.

It’s a very pretty coin, reaching a peak with the antiqued, high-relief variants below. There are nine versions of it, which we’ve laid out below, and all but the bullion coins (available only direct from EIC) are boxed with a Certificate of Authenticity. Prices range from £34.99 for the 1 oz silver bullion coin, to £3,295 for the one-kilo high-relief silver. There’s something for every pocket here. Beautiful, and available now. Also, for a short while, if you use the code FREESHIPPING you will get free shipping. I guess the clue is in the name… That’s actually a good saving for international buyers if you want one.


These will be the primary focus for most collectors, as the one-ounce silver coin is an absolute behemoth in the modern coin market. The standard proof coin looks great, showing off the artwork well, and the mintage of 1,500 means it will be one of the easiest to pick up as time goes on.

We’re probably going to be in a minority here, but the partially gilded coin isn’t as attractive for us. I think it’s the closeness of the lion, and the gilded flowers interfering with the delineation between the two elements, but we really are nit-picking. A coin we’d love to see in hand.

£1 (St. Helena) 31.1 g of 0.999 silver 38.6 mm Proof 1,500
£1 (St. Helena) 31.1 g of 0.999 silver 38.6 mm Proof, gilding 750


We’re not going to mince words – these antique finished, high relief coins are easily our favourites of this range. The added depth, and that finish, elevate the design to new heights, and this is a beautiful coin by any standards. There are two variants, with the two-ounce being the realistic choice for most, but we can only imagine how cool that one-kilo coin is.

For us, not just the pick of the 2024 selection, but the best Una & the Lion coin the East India Company have released to date.

£2 (St. Helena) 62.2 g of 0.999 silver 45.0 mm Antique, high-relief 500
£50 (St. Helena) 1,000 g of 0.999 silver 100.0 mm Antique, high-relief 25


The gold range is fairly typical in modern numismatics, choosing to go with the much liked quarter-ounce, and one-ounce formats. There’s no trickery with this pair, eschewing things like high-relief for a more traditional strike, as seems to be more desired by collectors in this market.

What caught our eye with this range, originally, was the embracing of the half-gram minigold. While this format isn’t an outright value choice, it is an eminently affordable one, and advances in modern minting has meant that, despite the small 11 mm diameter, detail levels remain quite impressive, and all the artwork has been incorporated without cropping. Always an interesting alternative to a one-ounce silver proof coin,

£2 (St. Helena) 0.5 g of 0.9999 gold 11.0 mm Proof 1,000
£2 (St. Helena) 7.78 g of 0.9999 gold 25.0 mm Proof 499
£5 (St. Helena) 31.1 g of 0.9999 gold 32.0 mm Proof 200


From these renders, it seems the bullion range loses little to the considerably more expensive proof coins, the only real design difference on the reverse face is the addition of an inscription at the top that details the coin composition. The strike won’t be as crisp and defined, of course, but at little more than a third of the price of the proof coin, it’s a trade off many will be pleased to make.

There are one and two ounce variants, both inheriting the diameters of their proof siblings, and the smaller variant is also available in tubes of 18 with a saving of around 5% on buying them singly.

£1 (St. Helena) 31.1 g of 0.999 silver 38.6 mm Brilliant uncirculated 10,000
£2 (St. Helena) 62.2 g of 0.999 silver 45.0 mm Brilliant uncirculated 1,000

Una & the Lion, from “The Faerie Queene’

Una and the Lion is an allegorical tale from book one of Edmund Spenser’s epic poem, “The Faerie Queene,” an emblematic work of English Renaissance literature. Within this narrative, Una symbolizes truth and the one true religion, while the lion embodies courage, strength, and the noblest virtues. The story unfolds as Una, a maiden of unparalleled beauty and purity, embarks on a quest to seek aid for her kingdom besieged by a dreadful dragon. Her journey is fraught with peril, yet she remains steadfast in her pursuit of justice and righteousness.

Una’s encounter with the lion epitomizes the essence of their relationship. Initially, she encounters a fierce lion, but instead of attacking her, the lion shows reverence and obedience, recognizing her innate purity. The lion becomes her faithful companion and protector, signifying the alliance between truth and bravery. Their bond embodies the harmony between virtue and valour, illustrating how strength, when tempered by goodness and guided by truth, becomes a force for righteousness.

Throughout their quest, Una’s unwavering faith and the lion’s unwavering strength complement each other. They face various challenges and adversaries, but their unity prevails. Their journey embodies the spiritual journey of the soul striving for moral perfection in a world plagued by corruption and falsehoods.

Furthermore, Spenser’s use of allegory in “The Faerie Queene” extends beyond the literal narrative, conveying deeper moral and philosophical truths. Una and the lion represent ideals that transcend the story’s surface, emphasizing the significance of courage, purity, and the unwavering pursuit of truth in a morally complex world.