Una & the Lion Coins

Published December 13, 2023 | 2 min read

By Louis Golino

The East India Company in London, in association with the government of St. Helena, is now offering the latest silver and gold coins in its Una and the Lion collection.

The legend of Una and the Lion dates to the 16th century. Edmund Spenser’s epic poem, The Faerie Queen, is a landmark of English literature. He tells the story of a beautiful princess who tries to rescue her parents from a dragon. During her travels, Una encounters a fierce lion, which she subdues with her beauty and innocence. The lion then becomes her protector.

Nineteenth-century Royal Mint Chief Engraver William Wyon used that legend as the basis for his famous (and today, extremely rare and valuable) 1839 Una and the Lion gold coins. He struck these in honor of Queen Victoria’s coronation. Numerous mints have issued coins that reproduce the original design. Since 2020, the East India Company has debuted a new coin each year that features a fresh, modern interpretation of the classic tale.

Old Tale, New Design

For 2024, wildlife artist Carroll Hutchings tells the story in a bold, new way. She initially worked in pen and ink to create an illustration that cast elegant Una and the fierce lion as two interconnected sides of one story.

Hutchings’s design differs significantly from the series’ four prior ones. It breathes new life into the tale of Una and the Lion by balancing Una’s poise with the lion’s ferocity. The artist intertwines the two characters’ personalities using natural elements found in a woodland, which is where their adventure begins.

Joanna Mould, managing director of the company, says that the ancient tale “is built on the virtues of strength, honesty, courage, and loyalty, values that are as relevant today as ever. As such, we’re delighted to introduce the new coins featuring Carroll’s wonderfully organic design.”

Coin Specifications

The 2024 Una and the Lion coins are available as silver and gold proof pieces and in 1- and 2-ounce brilliant-uncirculated condition. All have limited mintages. This year, for the first time, the East India Company is offering a 2-ounce antique-silver version in ultra high relief (shown above). To view the full line of available finishes and prices, visit theeastindiacompany.com.

Through the end of January 2024, the business is offering free shipping on orders over £150.