Auction Guide

Preparing for your first Downies Australian Coin Auction and wondering how our process works, or what the abbreviations in our catalogues mean? This comprehensive Auction Guide should help – and if it doesn’t, get in touch.

Consignment Process

Our specialists will manage all stages of the consignment process for you. Our team ensure the safe arrival and transfer of goods all the way from you - to the eventual sale and handover of ownership to the lucky winning bidder. As soon as we take receipt of your consignment our team begin evaluating and strategically preparing your collection into lots that will realise their maximum value at auction. At all stages your collectables are securely stored and insured giving you piece of mind. You are registered immediately in our system with a unique vendor ID. Your consignment is given a unique consignment number which can be tracked through our auction software at all times.


All incoming courier parcels are signed for and recorded by our Inwards Goods team before being transferred to our auction specialists. All items received are cross checked against the accompanying documentation. We encourage all vendors to provide detailed documentation with all shipments to ensure transparency and the safe arrival of your goods. If you haven’t prepared an inventory, we will do so and verify this with you before proceeding any further.


Downies carries both transit and contents insurance to cover your goods while either being transported or stored. Your items are stored securely in our vaults every night and all our premises have state of the art security systems, cameras, and 24 hour security.

Specialist Staff

Our staff inspect your consignment and identify any highlights before strategically lotting your items. We pride ourselves on our detailed and accurate catalogue descriptions which greatly support the sale of your goods. All key features are identified and described including the year, denomination, history, condition, and estimate.


Where requested or determined to be appropriate, your items will be photographed. We use only the best high-resolution images for our catalogue which enhances your consignment and ensures the maximum possible exposure.


Once all consignments are described, photographed and processed, the catalogue is created. The items are ordered logically and lot numbers are assigned. Our team of graphic designers then design and approve the final layout before the catalogue goes to print.


Reaching thousands of registered bidders, vendors, and as many potential buyers as possible, our promotional material is vital to meeting your expectations. Leading up to the current sale, we promote via a number of advertising channels such as in relevant publications, across our websites, and via email communications. The catalogues themselves are distributed online, via email campaigns and direct mail.


All lots can be viewed in the specified days leading up to the auction. Viewers will be admitted to the viewing room subject to positive proof of identity – this requires the furnishing of a Government issue photo ID (such as a driver licence, passport). If no photo ID is available, then two forms of ID, with at least one with a signature (credit cards), will be acceptable. These conditions apply to everyone and are in place to ensure we meet our insurance obligations and our commitment to vendor security.


We currently hold 3-4 major auctions each year. Our sales are open to the public and often attract more than 500 bidders with a mix of in-room and absentee bidders. Before and during the auction, bidders can register either remotely or in the sale room. We collect bidders’ personal details, verify their identification, and assign a unique bidder number. As lots are called, in-room bidders hold up their bid cards at increasing intervals until a winning bidder is determined. Absentee bids are placed in the sale room by our specialist auction team.


When the sale is complete, an invoice is produced and lots are picked and prepared for collection or despatch. Title of purchased lots shall not pass until the purchase price and buyer’s expenses are paid in full with cleared funds in Australian Dollars. We accept Cash, EFTPOS, Electronic Funds Transfer, PayPal, Bank or Personal Cheque (subject to processing fee) and Credit Card payments (subject to surcharge).  As a vendor, you will receive payment for lots sold within 42 days.

Collection and Shipping

Lots can be collected by appointment only, following the final day of the sale. Alternatively, your lots will be shipped to your nominated address, fully insured by the most practical method. The purchaser shall bear all shipping and insurance costs incurred and those costs will be added to the buyer’s invoice for payment in full.

Information Security

Your information is recorded and stored securely and we do not disclose any of your information to third parties without you express permission. All paperwork is securely destroyed and electronic records are kept safe via supreme data security protocols. We ensure that we are compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) which is a set of requirements designed to ensure that ALL companies that process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment.

Gradings and Terminology

Proof: Proof coins are the most beautiful coins imaginable. They are struck using specially hardened dies, and highly polished blanks. The result is a coin of great clarity and depth of detail. Most modern proofs (1966 onwards) contrast a brilliant mirrored background against delicately frosted detail. 

Prooflike: Still beautifully struck, Prooflike items may still contain the shiny, mirrored fields created by polished dies, but with slightly less contrast between mirrored and frosted surfaces than a Proof.

Brilliant Uncirculated (B/Unc) or choice Unc: Uncirculated, but with higher than normal sheen. 

Uncirculated (Unc): An uncirculated or unused item. Full detail, no wear, brilliance and lustre are hallmarks of an uncirculated coin, whereas no bends, folds or staining are qualities of an uncirculated banknote. 

Extremely Fine (EF): Coins show only traces of wear to the high points of the design and only light surface marks from circulating. Otherwise the design is clear and sharp and the coin will have much lustre. Notes are clean and crisp with only the slightest signs of creases and folds. 

Very Fine (VF): Lustre has gone and there will be flatness on the design of a coin. Other traces of wear may also be evident. Banknotes of this grade will show distinct signs of handling though the paper will still be reasonably crisp. 

Fine (F): The effects of handling will be quite evident from the amount of flatness to the design of a coin. Notes will have clear signs of soiling and heavy creasing, possibly also some tearing. 

Very Good (VG): Most details of a coin’s design will be all but gone, but the basic design and date are still visible. Notes of this grade are near the end of their useful life, and are of little value unless they are very scarce or rare. 

choice: An exceptional example of the given grade. 

good (g): Use of the prefix ‘good’ (e.g. gVF) indicates that the item is slightly better than the grade stated. 

about (a): Use of this prefix (e.g. aEF) indicates that the item is almost at the grading designated.