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

Two phenomenal vintage British gold coins certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® soared in a European sale, with each realizing $1.148 million – a new world record price for a British coin at auction.

by Certified Collectibles Group l Published on November 3, 2020

SARASOTA, Fla. (November 2, 2020) — Two phenomenal vintage British gold coins certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) soared in a European sale, with each realizing $1.148 million – 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 (about $1.148 million USD or about £889,000). This is the finest-graded survivor of an original mintage of about 400 coins.

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: 99,475,000 Yen (about $930,000 USD, about € 855,000 or about £745,000) 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 (about $1.148 million USD or about £889,000).

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 in the MDC Monaco sale.

An 1817 Gold Pattern Crown graded NGC PF 65 Ultra Cameo realized € 576,000 (about $672,000 USD). 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.

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 (about $532,000 USD). It is one of the few known of any year struck in gold and is possibly unique for its particular year.

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, including:

All prices realized include buyer's premium.

About Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®)

NGC is the world’s largest and most trusted third-party grading service for coins, tokens and medals, with more than 47 million collectibles certified. Founded in 1987, NGC provides an accurate, consistent and impartial assessment of authenticity and grade. Every coin that NGC certifies is backed by the comprehensive NGC Guarantee of authenticity and grade, which gives buyers greater confidence. This results in higher prices realized and greater liquidity for NGC-certified coins. To learn more, visit

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Source: Certified Collectibles Group

Certified Collectibles Group image The Certified Collectibles Group (CCG) is a set of independent third-party companies (NGC, NCS, PMG, CCG, CCS, ASG & CAG) focused on the expert authentication, grading and conservation of collectibles.