Masterpiece 2021 Una & the Lion 2oz Silver Proof Coin


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William Wyon is one of the all-time great coin designers, most famously producing iconic portraits of Queen Victoria. When designing a £5 coin to commemorate the first anniversary of Victoria’s coronation, Wyon took inspiration from Edmund Spenser’s epic medieval poem; The Faerie Queene. He used Spenser’s Una to personify the young Victoria, while the majestic lion alongside her represented the British nation under her guidance and leadership.

There had been no history of coins showing current British monarchs in narrative settings, so Wyon’s design was a little controversial. But as it was intended for a celebratory proof coin rather than a circulation coin, his creativity was given free reign and the few hundred coins produced by The Royal Mint soon proved to be hugely popular with collectors.

This classic coin is now available to collectors once again as the second issue in our Masterpiece Collection. It is presented here as a 2oz Silver Coin, finished to gleaming Proof quality, in a bespoke case accompanied by a certificate which guarantees its authenticity and quality.



Una & the Lion: Poetry, Poise and Power

In Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, Una is a princess on a quest to free her parents from a dragon. She symbolises innocence and here personifies Queen Victoria. On her journey, Una meets a fierce lion, quickly subdued by Una’s beauty. He becomes her devoted protector, and here represents the British nation.

Together, they embody strength, courage and commitment, and Wyon’s design has subtle similarities to another 19th Century classic.

William Wyon had something of a competitive rivalry with the great Benedetto Pistrucci, best known for his St. George and the Dragon design. Its depiction of St George upon a rearing steed, sword drawn and ready to strike as he looms over a dragon, is all energy and drama. In William Wyon’s Una & the Lion we also see a heroic figure paired with a mighty beast, so perhaps this was in some way Wyon’s response to Pistrucci’s classic, albeit with a more peaceful setting and graceful mood.

Coin Name: Masterpiece 2021 Una & the Lion 2oz Silver Proof Coin
Alloy: 0.999Ag
Denomination: £2
Weight: 2oz
Issuing Authority: St Helena
Diameter: 45mm
Edge: Milled
Issue Limit: 1000
Total Mintage: 1000


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