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85 years in the biz, and other rarities

It’s a rare family business that grows from strength to strength over a course of 85 years – and at Downies Coins, it’s something we’re incredibly thankful for. So last week, we took an equally rare opportunity to stop, reflect and celebrate.

Joined by some of our customers in the Southgate store, we were particularly honoured to play host to a very special guest - the CEO of the Royal Australian Mint, Ross MacDiarmid - and of course, some exclusive treasures, both old and new.


The star of the evening was this rather imposing 2kg Gold Nugget above, who goes by the moniker ‘Smooth Rider.’ ‘Rare’ doesn’t come anywhere near fully describing the incredible luck surrounding its discovery – but more on that later.

2017 $100 Celestial Dome Series Northern Sky 1oz Gold Proof

On the subject of attendees, it was with tremendous excitement that we were able to welcome the inimitable Ross MacDiarmid from the Royal Australian Mint to personally introduce the ‘concave/convex’ 1oz gold proof that will, no doubt, go on to be a popular numismatic piece this year.


Royal Australian Mint CEO Ross MacDiarmid introduces the ‘Northern Sky’ 1oz Gold Proof.


The event also created a rare opportunity for MacDiarmid to meet some Downies customers face-to-face – and, of course, catch up on lost time!


Ross MacDiarmid receives a gift from Downies Managing Director, Ken Downie.

With our Rarities catalogue launch just around the corner, the stage was set for customers to admire a selection of key Australian rare coins, banknotes and more from days gone by. A huge congratulations to our lucky door prize winner, who was able to leave with a fittingly striking memento of his evening!


The Rider’s Return

When it comes to luck, the story of a gent named ‘Big Nolan’ comes to mind.

It was February 26th, 1939. Nolan was driving home, forging a journey down a deserted road near Victoria’s Canadian Gully, when his car ran off the road. As the story goes:

Since he wasn't completely sober, it took Nolan a while to dig out his tyres, which were partially buried in some rocks and sand. Using a tyre iron, he not only freed the tyres but also discovered this 78.39 ounce nugget about 8 inches down. Big Nolan took his time getting back on the road, being careful not to get stuck again. His ride back to town was so much better that he called the nugget ‘Smooth Rider.’

‘Smooth Rider’ was kept in Nolan’s family until quite recently, when it was brought from Australia to the United States for sale.

But thanks to the hard work of Ken Downie, it’s home again.