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

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

1839

Part of a set. See all set records

designed by

William Wyon

(British, 1795-1851)

Gold

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

Weight: 38.724 g (1.37 oz.)

The Norweb Collection 1969.217

Location

Did you know?

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

Description

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
Collection: 
MED - Numismatics
Department: 
Medieval Art
Type of artwork: 
Coins
Medium: 
Gold
Credit line: 
The Norweb Collection

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