Masterpiece 2021 Una & the Lion 1oz Silver Proof Coin



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William Wyon’s reputation as one of history’s greatest coin designers is built on a number of true masterpieces, including his neoclassical ‘The Three Graces’ which told the story of the 1801 Act of Union. He is perhaps most famous for his portraits of Queen Victoria, who first sat for him as a 13-year-old princess. When Victoria became Queen in 1838, his iconic ‘Young Head’ portrait captured the youthful poise of the new monarch.

A year later Wyon created what is now recognised as one of the most beautiful designs ever produced. His Una & the Lion takes its inspiration from Edmund Spenser’s epic poem The Faerie Queene; Una is a young princess on a quest to rescue her parents from a dragon, accompanied by a mighty lion who she meets along the way.

Wyon used this literary partnership to represent Victoria and the British nation, a new Queen guiding a powerful nation forwards with purpose. His classic design has been faithfully remastered by our master craftsmen for the modern collector, available now as this limited edition 1oz Silver Proof Coin.


Una & the Lion: Poetry, Poise and Power

Wyon framed his Una & the Lion with the Latin phrase ‘DIRIGE DEUS GRESSUS MEOS’ which translates as “May the Lord direct my steps” in reference to Queen Victoria’s role as head of the Church of England. In further clues to her true identity, Una carries various symbols of monarchy, such as an orb and sceptre. Beside her is a mighty lion, the British Empire’s energy and power seemingly under Una’s control as she guides it forwards with her sceptre.

It is a stunning example of visual storytelling, and while it is now held in the highest regard by enthusiasts, it did initially cause some controversy. Sitting British monarchs were traditionally depicted on their coins in classic positions or poses, for example on a throne or as a portrait. Never before had a current monarch been shown in a narrative setting like this, so it was a bold move by Wyon which paid off when its beauty held sway over any concerns about its concept. It now takes its rightful place in The East India Company’s Masterpiece Collection.

Coin Name: Masterpiece 2021 Una & the Lion 1oz Silver Proof
Alloy: 0.999Ag
Denomination: £1
Weight: 1oz
Issuing Authority: St Helena
Diameter: 38.6m
Edge: Milled
Issue Limit: 2000
Total Mintage: 2000


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