On Sept. 14, Dix Noonan Webb will put a 15-coin 1839 British proof set on the block (KM-PS5; S-PS3). Given the current boom being experienced in prices of pre-decimal British proof sets, the sky seems unlikely to provide a sufficient limit for this desirable numismatic rarity.
The set was produced to commemorate the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1837. It includes one each of all the first Victorian coins. At its center is the legendary gold £5 depicting William Wyon’s “Una and the Lion” (KM-742; S-3851).
For those into the subtle variations in Una and the Lion £5s, and who like to know exactly what they might be getting for their money, the catalog description reads: “Proof set 1839 comprising Five-Pounds, reads dirige, 13 leaves, edge tertio (WR 280), Sovereign, Half-Sovereign, Crown, Halfcrown, Shilling, Sixpence, Britannia Groat, Maundy set, copper Penny, Halfpenny and Farthing (15). Virtually mint state and brilliant, the gold with minimal hairlines, the silver with attractive light toning; housed in original contemporary fitted case.”
The Standard Catalog cites the number of proof sets produced as 300 with 400 total of the £5 coin, all of which were proofs. The exact number produced is unknown. Not all experts agree on either figure. Scarcity is the name of the game for both the set and the £5 coin.
Earlier this year a choice example of the £5 was bid up to $265,434 [£204,000] at DNW’s March sale on a £80,000 to £100,000 estimate.
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More Collecting Resources
• The 1800s were a time of change for many, including in coin production. See how coin designs grew during the time period in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900 .
• Order the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, General Issues to learn about circulating paper money from 14th century China to the mid 20th century.