Dec 9, 2009
Dec 9, 2009

Five Pound Piece: Victoria (obverse); Una (reverse)

Five Pound Piece: Victoria (obverse); Una (reverse)


Part of a set. See all set records

designed by

William Wyon

(British, 1795–1851)


Diameter: 3.7 cm (1 7/16 in.)

Weight: 38.724 g (1.37 oz.)

The Norweb Collection 1969.217


Did you know?

This five-pound piece was never for circulation but instead for presentation and collectors.


This piece was struck by the Royal Mint from gold purchased for the purpose. The current gold coins, such as the sovereign, were struck from gold supplied by the Bank of England. The larger gold pieces have their origins in the five and two guinea pieces. There are several minor varieties of this fine and rare piece, designed by William Wyon, R.A., a member of the celebrated family, still in existence, that had such a long and profound influence on British coin design. By some, this piece was considered to be too medallic for coinage purposes. Queen Victoria, at this date a young woman of 20, is shown as Una, Truth, because truth is one: one of the principal characters in Spenser's Faerie Queene (1590–1611). She is leading the lion referred to in her adventures in Spenser's work. It is often also referred to as the British lion. This coin is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful in the English series, and the standard of workmanship and striking has never been improved upon.

See also
MED - Numismatics
Medieval Art
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
The Norweb Collection

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.