Two NGC-certified British Coins Each Realize Over $1 Million to Set a New World Record

Posted on 02/11/2020

The record-setting gold ultra-rarities include the finest-graded Una and the Lion.

Two phenomenal vintage British gold coins certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) soared in a European sale, with each realizing € 984,000 ($1.148 million USD)€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD or £889,000)€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD)€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD)€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD or about HK$8,900,000)€ 984,000, $1.148 million USD or about 7,660,000 RMB – a new world record price for a British coin at auction. The MDC Monaco auction was held in Monaco on October 29, 2020.

A Great Britain 1839 "Una and the Lion" Five Pounds graded NGC PF 66 Ultra Cameo realized € 984,000 ($1.148 million USD)€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD or £889,000)€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD)€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD)€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD or about HK$8,900,000)€ 984,000, $1.148 million USD or about 7,660,000 RMB. This is the finest-graded survivor of an original mintage of about 400 coins.

1839 "Una and the Lion" Gold Five Pounds graded NGC PF 66 Ultra Cameo. Realized: € 984,000 ($1.148 million USD)€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD or £889,000)€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD)€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD)€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD or about HK$8,900,000)€ 984,000, $1.148 million USD or about 7,660,000 RMB
Click images to enlarge.

Widely regarded as the most beautiful British coin, the design celebrates Victoria, who had just become Queen of England in 1837 at the age of 18. The coin's obverse features a bust of the young queen, framed by the legend VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIARUM REGINA F: D:, which is Latin for “Victoria by the Grace of God, Queen of the British territories, Defender of the Faith.”

The more famous reverse also features Victoria, this time as Lady Una, a character from Edmund Spenser’s 1590 poem "The Faerie Queene." She is pictured guiding a lion (a symbol of England). The fabled scene is surrounded by the Latin motto DIRIGE DEUS GRESSUS MEOS, which translates to “May the Lord direct my steps.”

The winning bid dethroned an Una and the Lion graded NGC PF 65 Ultra Cameo that had just sold for a record price in May 2020: 9,947,5000 Yen, about € 855,000 or about $930,000 USD9,947,5000 Yen or about £745,0009,947,5000 Yen or about € 100,8009,947,5000 Yen, about € 855,000 or about $930,000 USD9,947,5000 Yen or about HK$7,260,0009,947,5000 Yen or about 6,560,000 RMB, at a Japanese auction.

In the October 29 MDC Monaco sale, Queen Victoria shared the spotlight with her uncle and predecessor, King William IV. A Great Britain 1831 Gold Crown graded NGC PF 66★ Ultra Cameo also realized € 984,000 ($1.148 million USD)€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD or £889,000)€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD)€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD)€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD or about HK$8,900,000)€ 984,000, $1.148 million USD or about 7,660,000 RMB.

Great Britain 1831 Gold Crown graded NGC PF 66★ Ultra Cameo. Realized:€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD)€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD or £889,000)€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD)€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD)€ 984,000 ($1.148 million USD or about HK$8,900,000)€ 984,000, $1.148 million USD or about 7,660,000 RMB
Click images to enlarge.

The 1831 Gold Crown is extremely rare, and this example is by far the finest known. NGC recognized its incredible eye appeal by assigning its trademark Star (★) Designation as part of the coin's grade.

"This MDC Monaco sale brought British numismatics to new heights, and it's no surprise to see NGC-certified coins leading the way," said Mark Salzberg, NGC Chairman and Grading Finalizer. "The expertise of NGC's world grading team is unrivaled, and NGC is proud to serve collectors in Europe with offices in the United Kingdom and Germany."

NGC-certified British gold coins have shone particularly brightly as the global numismatic marketplace has demonstrated robust growth and a strong preference for NGC certification.

Two other NGC-certified 19th century British coins realized more than $500,000 USD£400,000€ 450,000$100,000 USDHK$4,000,0003,500,000 RMB in the MDC Monaco sale.

An 1817 Gold Pattern Crown graded NGC PF 65 Ultra Cameo realized € 576,000 or about $672,000 € 576,000 or about £520,000 € 576,000 € 576,000 or about $672,000 USD € 576,000 or about HK$5,210,000 € 576,000 or about 4,480,000 RMB. Only seven of these coins were struck in gold. The bust of George III, whose 59-year reign was the longest of any British king, is the work of engraver William Wyon, best known for his venerated "Una and the Lion" design over two decades later.

Great Britain 1817 Gold Pattern Crown graded NGC PF 65 Ultra Cameo. Realized: € 576,000 or about $672,000 € 576,000 or about £520,000 € 576,000 € 576,000 or about $672,000 USD € 576,000 or about HK$5,210,000 € 576,000 or about 4,480,000 RMB
Click images to enlarge.

Wyon's 1817 reverse for the Crown was considered for Britain's new Sovereign coin; however, it lost to Benedetto Pistrucci's timeless Saint George and the Dragon design, which is still in use today.

A British coin struck in Bombay (today known as Mumbai) also generated lively bidding. The coin, a Great Britain 1896B Gold Trade Dollar graded NGC PF 64, realized € 456,000 or about $532,000 € 456,000 or about £411,000 € 456,000 € 456,000 or about $532,000 USD € 456,000 or about HK$4,120,000 € 456,000 or about 3,550,000 RMB. It is one of the few known of any year struck in gold and is possibly unique for its particular year.

Great Britain 1896B Trade Dollar graded NGC PF 64. Realized: € 456,000 or about $532,000 € 456,000 or about £411,000 € 456,000 € 456,000 or about $532,000 USD € 456,000 or about HK$4,120,000 € 456,000 or about 3,550,000 RMB
Click images to enlarge.

Silver British Trade Dollars were minted starting in 1895 to facilitate commerce in the British colonies of Hong Kong and the Straits Settlements (which included modern-day Singapore). As a result, their reverse contains Chinese characters and Malay script.

"We are delighted with the record-setting performance of NGC-certified coins in this sale," said Nicolas Gimbert, MDC Monaco Numismatic Expert. "NGC certification helps bidders feel more confident, which is especially important when an ultra-rare coin represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

In all, an astounding 24 NGC-certified coins realized at least $100,000 USD£85,000€ 95,000$100,000 USD$100,000 USD or HK$875,000750,000 RMB, including:

  • a Great Britain 1826 Five Pounds graded NGC PF 66★ Ultra Cameo that realized € 408,000 or about $476,000 USD € 408,000 or about £368,000 € 408,000 € 408,000 or about $476,000 USD € 408,000 or about HK$3,690,000 € 408,000 or about 3,170,000 RMB
  • another Great Britain 1839 "Una and the Lion" Five Pounds, this one graded NGC PF 62+ Ultra Cameo, which realized € 360,000 or about $420,000 USD € 360,000 or about £325,000 € 360,000 € 360,000 or about $420,000 USD € 360,000 or about HK$3,250,000 € 360,000 or about 2,800,000 RMB
  • a Russia 1836 Platinum 12 Roubles graded NGC MS 63 and pedigreed to the Hutten Czapski Collection that realized € 300,000 or about $350,000 USD € 300,000 or about £271,000 € 300,000 € 300,000 or about $350,000 USD € 300,000 or about HK$2,710,000 € 300,000 or about 2,330,000 RMB
  • a France 1878 Gold 100 Francs graded NGC PF 65 Cameo that realized € 264,000 or about $308,000 USD € 264,000 or about £238,000 € 264,000 € 264,000 or about $308,000 USD € 264,000 or about HK$2,380,000 € 264,000 or about 2,050,000 RMB
  • a France 1862 Essai 50 Francs graded NGC PF 66 Cameo that realized € 168,000 or about $196,000 USD € 168,000 or about £151,000 € 168,000 € 168,000 or about $196,000 USD € 168,000 or about HK$1,520,000 € 168,000 or about 1,300,000 RMB
  • an Austria 1668 10 Ducats graded NGC UNC Details that realized € 156,000 or about $182,000 USD € 156,000 or about £140,000 € 156,000 € 156,000 or about $182,000 USD € 156,000 or about HK$1,410,000 € 156,000 or about 1,210,000 RMB
  • a Russia 1798 5 Roubles graded NGC MS 65 that realized € 156,000 or about $182,000 USD € 156,000 or about £140,000 € 156,000 € 156,000 or about $182,000 USD € 156,000 or about HK$1,410,000 € 156,000 or about 1,210,000 RMB
  • a Switzerland (1772) 10 Ducats graded NGC MS 62+ that realized € 156,000 or about $182,000 USD € 156,000 or about £140,000 € 156,000 € 156,000 or about $182,000 USD € 156,000 or about HK$1,410,000 € 156,000 or about 1,210,000 RMB
  • a Russia 1902 37.5 Roubles graded NGC MS 62 that realized € 152,400 or about $178,000 USD € 152,400 or about £137,000 € 152,400 € 152,400 or about $178,000 USD € 152,400 or about HK$1,370,000 € 152,400 or about 1,180,000 RMB
  • an England 1682 5 Guineas graded NGC MS 62 that realized € 150,000 or about $175,000 USD € 150,000 or about £135,000 € 150,000 € 150,000 or about $175,000 USD € 150,000 or about HK$1,350,000 € 150,000 or about 1,160,000 RMB
  • an Austria 1651 10 Ducats graded NGC AU 58 that realized € 144,000 or about $168,000 USD € 144,000 or about £130,000 € 144,000 € 144,000 or about $168,000 USD € 144,000 or about HK$1,300,000 € 144,000 or about 1,120,000 RMB
  • a Great Britain 1839 Crown graded NGC PF 66+ Cameo that realized € 132,000 or about $154,000 USD € 132,000 or about £119,000 € 132,000 € 132,000 or about $154,000 USD € 132,000 or about HK$1,190,000 € 132,000 or about 1,020,000 RMB
  • a Russia 1729 Ducat graded NGC MS 61 that realized € 132,000 or about $154,000 USD € 132,000 or about £119,000 € 132,000 € 132,000 or about $154,000 USD € 132,000 or about HK$1,190,000 € 132,000 or about 1,020,000 RMB
  • a Vietnam (Annam) 1841-1847 Gold Lang graded NGC UNC Details that realized € 132,000 or about $154,000 USD € 132,000 or about £119,000 € 132,000 € 132,000 or about $154,000 USD € 132,000 or about HK$1,190,000 € 132,000 or about 1,020,000 RMB
  • a Russia 1836 10 Roubles graded NGC PF 63 Cameo that realized € 126,000 or about $147,000 USD € 126,000 or about £113,000 € 126,000 € 126,000 or about $147,000 USD € 126,000 or about HK$1,140,000 € 126,000 or about 981,000 RMB
  • a Germany 1694 24 Ducats graded NGC MS 60 that realized € 126,000 or about $147,000 USD € 126,000 or about £113,000 € 126,000 € 126,000 or about $147,000 USD € 126,000 or about HK$1,140,000 € 126,000 or about 981,000 RMB
  • a Poland 1561 Ducat graded NGC AU 55 that realized € 108,000 or about $126,000 USD € 108,000 or about £97,000 € 108,000 € 108,000 or about $126,000 USD € 108,000 or about HK$977,000 € 108,000 or about 841,000 RMB
  • a France 1889 A 100 Francs graded NGC PF 63 Cameo that realized € 102,000 or about $119,000 USD € 102,000 or about £92,000 € 102,000 € 102,000 or about $119,000 USD € 102,000 or about HK$923,000 € 102,000 or about 794,000 RMB
  • a Russia 1762 10 Roubles graded NGC MS 62 that realized € 100,800 or about $118,000 USD € 100,800 or about £91,000 € 100,800 € 100,800 or about $118,000 USD € 100,800 or about HK$912,000 € 100,800 or about 785,000 RMB
  • a Russia 1830 12 Roubles graded NGC MS 63 PL that realized € 98,400 or about $115,000 USD € 98,400 or about £88,000 € 98,400 € 98,400 or about $115,000 USD € 98,400 or about HK$890,000 € 98,400 or about ¥766,000

All prices realized include buyer's premium.


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