'Una and the Lion' one of many English rarities at Sincona


29 November 2021
The recent SINCONA sale featured a wide range of English coins, including an 1839 proof set featuring the famous 'Una and the Lion' 5 sovereign.

With an 'Una and the Lion' leading the way, a stunning collection of hundreds of rare English coins certified by Numismatic Guaranty Company™ (NGC®) realised CHF 8.3 million (£6.6 million / $8.9 million) in a sale by Swiss auction house SINCONA.

Realising CHF 528,000 (£426,596 / $568,000), the top lot in the sale was a Great Britain 1839 Proof Set that included fifteen coins ranging from the Farthing all the way up to the prestigious 'Una and the Lion'. The coins are graded from NGC PF 63 to NGC PF 66 Cameo, with its marquee coin graded NGC PF 63 Ultra Cameo.

Beautiful British coin

Widely regarded as the most beautiful British coin, the Una and the Lion was issued to celebrate the young Queen Victoria. It gets its name from its reverse, which shows her as the character of Lady Una guiding a lion in a scene inspired by Edmund Spenser's epic poem 'The Faerie Queene'.


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An embattled king's coin

The highest price for a single-coin lot in the sale was for an England 1643 Triple Unite graded NGC MS 64 (lot 613). It raced past its starting price of CHF 25,000 (£20,278 / $27,000) to realise CHF 282,000 (£227,568 / $303,000).


Triple Unites are great rarities in English numismatics, as they were struck only for three years during the English Civil War. The obverse shows King Charles I with a sword in one hand and an olive branch in the other, while the reverse shows the hope to unite England under the Protestant faith, English law and a Parliament with liberty. Charles was eventually captured, tried and executed.

Six-figure prices for 21 lots

Meanwhile, a Great Britain 1717 5 Guineas With Inverted 'D' on Edge graded NGC AU 58 (lot 723) realized CHF 276,000 (£223,000 / $297,000). The coin shows George I, the first of the six monarchs from the House of Hanover who ruled for nearly two centuries until Victoria's death in 1901.


Ben Wengel, NGC Senior Finalizer of World Coins, said:

"It was exciting to see the NGC-certified SINCONA British Collection realized nearly $9 million in this auction. This ambitious group of coins is an epic tribute to the impressive and incredibly detailed history of English numismatics."