1839 Victoria Gold Proof 5 pounds "Una and the Lion" Proof 64 Deep Cameo
Only around 400 examples were struck of the 1839 “Una and the Lion” Five Pounds, which is generally regarded as the most beautiful coin in British numismatics. The coins were struck to celebrate Victoria, who became Queen of England in 1837 at the age of 18. Her 63-year reign is one of the longest by any monarch. The gold coin’s obverse or heads side shows a bust of Queen Victoria by chief engraver of the Royal Mint William Wyon, who also designed and sculpted the reverse. The legend VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIARUM REGINA F: D: surrounds the bust, Latin for “Victoria by the Grace of God, Queen of the British territories, Defender of the Faith.” The more famous reverse once again features Queen Victoria, this time as Lady Una, a character from Edmund Spenser’s 1590 poem The Faerie Queene. She is shown directing a striding lion, with a scepter in her outstretched right hand and a globus cruciger (a cross-bearing orb) in her left. The scene is framed by the Latin motto DIRIGE DEUS GRESSUS MEOS, which translates to "May the Lord direct my steps."