Great Britain 1839 5 pounds

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Heritage sale 3015, lot 25006
photo courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries
This specimen was lot 25006 in Heritage sale 3015 (Long Beach, September 2011), where it sold for $92,000. The catalog description[1] noted,
"A Choice 'Una & the Lion' £5 Victoria Proof £5 1839, Young Head, PR63 Ultra Cameo NGC, the portrait and lion motif in stark relief against deeply mirrored fields with orange-peel texture, the proof impression really excellent, and relatively few abrasions or hairlines, therefore clearly a choice specimen. Variety with delicately raised decorations on the fillets in the queen's hairdo, and in the reverse legend 'DIRIGE', the legend translating to English as 'May God Direct My Steps' (Psalm 118:133). A classic of the Victorian Age in both style and sentiment, and one of master engraver William Wyon's masterpieces, with a modest mintage in the hundreds, the exact number struck unknown because this coin was minted on demand from the time it first appeared in the Coronation sets until the style was replaced in the Jubilee year. Always popular but seldom available in this excellent state of preservation. A truly majestic coin, and rare so fine. From The Pikes Peak Collection."
This large, glamorous type always makes the front cover of any auction catalog in which it appears.

Recorded mintage: est. 400.

Specification: 39.94 g, .917 fine gold, 1.177 troy oz AGW.

Catalog reference: S3851, KM 742.


  • Michael, Thomas, and Tracy L. Schmidt, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 9th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2019.
  • Friedberg, Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg, Gold Coins of the World, From Ancient Times to the Present, 7th ed., Clifton, NJ: Coin and Currency Institute, 2003.
  • Bressett, Kenneth E., A Guide Book of English Coins, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, 2nd Ed., Racine, WI: Whitman Publishing, 1962.
  • Lobel, Richard, Mark Davidson, Allan Hailstone and Eleni Calligas, Coincraft's Standard Catalogue of English and UK Coins, 1066 to Date, London: Coincraft, 1995.
  • Skingley, Philip, ed., Standard Catalogue of British Coins: Coins of England & the United Kingdom, 46th edition, London: Spink & Son, 2011.
  • [1]Cristiano Bierrenbach and Warren Tucker, Heritage World Coin Auction 3015, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2011.

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