AFL $1 coins you can really barrack for!

Calling all footy fans! Get ready to jump out of your seat and cheer for an exciting new $1 coin collection… kicking off soon. The Australian Post, in collaboration with the Royal Australian Mint, has just announced it is launching a set of 20 AFL collectable coins. Make sure you get in on the action early!

Something every Aussie can get behind, this collection will feature a spectacularly struck, genuine Australian legal tender $1 coin, for every AFL club - including the AFLW. Plus, you will have the chance to score two unique coloured coins! Each coin will be in ‘as it left the mint’ brilliant Uncirculated condition.

The AFL (Australian Football League) is one of the most popular sports leagues in Australia. With a rich history, and legions of fans, passions around this legendary sport run high! Sure to be a hit with AFL supporters and numismatic collectors alike, each $1 coin features the iconic logo of the most beloved footy teams in the league, like the Melbourne Lions, Collingwood, Richmond, West Coast Eagles and many more!

Not only a great way for fans to support their favourite football team, but also a wonderful merging of sports and culture, this collection is truly something special. Plus, it comes with a must-have display folder with a demarcated place for each coin. Essential to any AFL display, magnificently celebrating the legacy of a national treasure.

Destined to soar to the top of your coin collection, you will have to move fast as sell-out is all but certain. Launching May 15th, don’t forget to mark the date in you calendar and visit to secure your AFL $1 Uncirculated coin collection. Don’t drop the ball!

Charles’s Coronation Countdown is on!

Code-named Operation Golden Orb, the coronation of King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, will take place on Saturday 6 May at Westminster Abby London. Preparations are in full-swing for an historic event that many people will only witness once in their lifetimes, and excitement is running high!

Shortly after Charles III’s accession to the throne, three days after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the new king made a public pledge to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms that he would serve “with loyalty, respect and love”. The coronation is the first step in that promise…

The coronation will see Charles III crowned King of the United Kingdom, head of the Commonwealth and Defender of the Faith, formalising his role as the head of the Church of England. A symbolic religious ceremony, as well as an occasion of rare historic magnitude, the coronation will be steeped in ancient rites and spectacle that date back more than a millennium.

Rooted in history – looking to the future

British coronations have remained virtually unchanged for more than 1,000 years and take place at Westminster Abby, where every British monarch has been crowned since 1066 AD. We can expect Charles III’s coronation to be rooted in tradition, but Buckingham Palace has stated that it will also "reflect the monarch's role today and look towards the future".

Significantly, 2023 not only marks the year King Charles’ coronation, but also the 70th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II - a meaningful and touching convergence. Infused with layers of symbolism and detail, the coronation will contain the same vital elements of ‘the recognition’ that Queen Elizabeth II witnessed 7 decades ago, but this time will be accompanied by trumpets and calls of “God save the King!”. The oath to the Church of England, the anointing and investiture, during which the monarch is presented with objects representing their power and responsibilities, and the enthronement, will all remain crucial parts of the coronation.

Charles III will be physically crowned with St Edward’s Crown, the centrepiece of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, made for the coronation of Charles II, and last utilised for the crowning of Elizabeth II in 1953. The Supertunica (the Robe Royal) and Coronation Ring will also feature, as will the Sovereign’s Sceptre, and the Sovereign’s Orb (the cross surmounting the orb signifying the monarch’s power ordained by God) . Camilla, as Queen Consort will also be anointed and crowned.

Here's what we know so far…

  • Buckingham Palace has released an official Coronation logo, a beautiful design by Jonny Ive celebrating the nations of the UK with their official flowers - including a rose, thistle, daffodil and a shamrock. Expect to see this image everywhere from now until May 6 (and beyond), as all coronation events and official products are to be issued under this image.
  • The coronation will likely be shorter than Queen Elizabeth’s 1953 coronation with a wider range of religions represented as a nod to the modern United Kingdom and Commonwealth. The coronation procession will also be more modest than Queen Elizabeth’s 7km route that boasted 16,000 participants!
  • The ceremony will feature new music, specially commissioned, by British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, the man responsible for legendary musicals like ‘Cats’ and ‘Phantom of the Opera’.
  • Camilla, the Queen Consort, will be crowned with Queen Mary's Crown, which has been taken out of the Tower of London to be resized ahead of the ceremony. It is thought to be the first time in recent history that an existing crown will be "recycled" for a coronation.
  • The holy oil that will be used to anoint King Charles at his coronation has already been consecrated by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, and the Anglican archbishop in Jerusalem, Hosam Naoum at a ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The oil is based on that used at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on 2 June 1953, with a formula that dates back hundreds of years.
  • Australia will be represented by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese who has announced he is planning to attend the coronation.

Who will feature?

There are still many unknown details about the coronation, with the public guessing at which members of the royal family will appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony alongside the newly crowned king. All indications suggest a small royal party in adherence to Charles III’s aim of ‘slimmed down’ modern monarchy.

Will they, or won’t they? It is also unknown whether the embattled Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meaghan, will be in attendance, although it has now been confirmed that they have indeed been invited. Also, now that Charles III is king all his grandchildren can be styled as prince, or princess. In the leadup to the coronation the royal family's official website had been updated with new titles, listing Harry and Meghan's children as Prince Archie of Sussex and Princess Lilibet of Sussex.

The King and Queen Consort’s grandchildren will have a role to play in the coronation. Camilla’s five grandchildren will help attend to her on the day, and a role for Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis in the works.

Celebrations & commemorations!

Various events to celebrate the coronation weekend have been planned across the UK and Commonwealth, including a concert and laser light show at Windsor Castle on

 Sunday 7 May. Royal fans will hold coronation viewing parties to mark the event – a wildly popular tradition that we can expect to see being upheld across Australia.

The Coronation Big Lunch is also being supported by Buckingham Palace, encouraging communities to come together with neighbours and share in food and fun together to celebrate the occasion. Camilla, Queen Consort, has been a patron of The Big Lunch since 2013.

Many royal fans and collectors will also be marking the coronation with their very own piece of history! Acquiring a coronation commemorative, or coin, is a golden opportunity not to be missed – with many of these becoming family heirlooms treasured for generations. Make sure to browse Downies Collectable’s spectacular range of coronation collectables, available in a wide range of precious metals and spectacular designs!

King Charles III Coronation 2023 $1/4 Silver-plated Prooflike Coin

ANDA Money Expo 2023 Special Releases Are Here!

The Australian numismatic community is eagerly anticipating the first of the ANDA’s (Australasian Numismatic Dealer’s Association) regional expos, taking place in Melbourne this February! As a proud member of the ANDA, Downies Collectables is thrilled to announce that they have managed to secure a limited number of the show’s eagerly anticipated special releases for their customers. Read on to find out more…

The ANDA is the professional body representing individuals and businesses dealing in coins and banknotes throughout Australasia. Dedicated to advancing the hobby of coin collecting, educating the public about numismatics, and safeguarding professionalism amongst dealers. Founded in Victoria, it has been guiding and promoting the Australian numismatic community for over 25 years!

Perhaps the most important contribution of the ANDA has been the annual events it spearheads across Australia. The ANDA’s Money Expos are open to the general public for a gold coin donation, and are a great way for coin collectors and dealers to come together to celebrate their passion.

The Melbourne Money Expo 2023 is the first of these annual events and will take place from February 18-19 at the Malvern Town Hall. Events coming up later in the year include the Brisbane Money Expo 2023 at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre from May 13-14, and the Perth Money Expo 2023 at the South Perth Community Hall from July 15-16.

No matter which expo you attend, you can expect a thrilling time as leading local and interstate dealers, as well as the general public, gather for a massive two days of buying and selling. It’s the perfect opportunity to find that must-have piece for your collection and network with the specialists. It also promises to be a fantastic day out for the whole family, giving the kids a chance to learn about coin collecting and to get into a new hobby! Whether you are looking to expand your collection, or secure valuations and grading

 authentications for your coins and banknotes, there will be a number of experts from across the country ready to assist you.

Importantly, the ANDA Money Expos are also where the association launches exclusive and limited-edition product releases from Australia’s leading mints and institutions, like The Perth Mint and Australia Post! This year, the exclusive releases are particularly special, but if you can’t make it to view these amazing coins and presentations in person, don’t worry, Downies Collectables has secured a limited number of the special releases headlining the expo….

Melbourne ANDA Money Expo 2023 $1 Kookaburra Helmeted Honeyeater Privymark 1oz Silver Brilliant Uncirculated Coin

An official issue of the 2023 Melbourne Money Expo, this Australian legal tender coin from the Perth Mint boasts the signature 2023 kookaburra motif. Also featuring a vibrant full-colour privymark portraying the Helmeted Honeyeater! Part of an exclusive limited edition of just 2,000, each coin is crafted from 1oz of 99.99% pure, sparkling silver!
Melbourne ANDA Money Expo 2023 $1 Year of the Rabbit Stamp & Coin Cover
An official 2023 Melbourne ANDA Money Expo issue, this presentation is a unique tribute to the Year of the Rabbit. Underpinned by the Perth Mint’s Uncirculated Year of the Rabbit $1 coin, packaged in a superbly illustrated, individually numbered cover. Just 500 have been issued!

Make sure to head to Downie’s website to get your hands on one of these special issues early, as they are guaranteed to be snapped up fast!


Treasures In Your Change

What you should look out for!

In the fields of art, literature and jewellery, for example, people think that great rarities and treasures are found only safely hidden away in museums, government archives or perhaps in the homes of the rich and famous. Sometimes, however, you only need look at the coins in your pocket to find a genuine treasure!

In this blog, over the next few weeks, we will take a look at some of the coins in circulation that you might want to keep an eye out for – and what they might be worth.

Low denomination, high value!

Throughout history, the world of coinage has always had the capacity to throw up unlikely little gems that can be found in change. Often, those gems are low denomination issues – coins that someone might have had in their pocket on any given day – but are of the highest rarity.

In the USA, for example, there is the 1943 Lincoln Copper Penny (can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction), and 1913 Liberty Head Nickel (worth millions!) In the United Kingdom, there is the extraordinarily rare 1933 Penny – an unlikely rarity that has had generations frantically searching through their coins, and that could be worth £250,000 (AUD$400,000+) today! Australia has its iconic lower denomination rarities as well, such as the 1923 Halfpenny and the King of Australian Coins, the 1930 Penny.

The 1930 Penny – the ultimate ‘treasure in change’!

1930 Penny Fine

Australia’s highest profile rarity, the 1930 Penny is a great example of a true ‘people’s rarity’. Believed to have been struck during die-testing, then set aside and put into circulation with a later penny issue, the 1930 Penny is worth anything from $25,000 to $60,000 in circulated grade.

Apart from the statistical rarity, with approximately 1,500 known surviving examples, the 1930 Penny is also underpinned by undeniable romance. As Australia’s second lowest denomination at the time, the humble penny could have been found in any pocket – from paperboy to Prime Minister! Anyone could have struck it rich by finding the famed ’30!

You won’t find a 1930 Penny in your change today, of course, with the conversion to decimal currency in 1966, but there are plenty of other interesting – and potentially valuable – coin dates, types and varieties to watch out for.

Decimal Dynamite!

So, what sort of coins are worth looking out for in change?

Since decimalisation in February 1966, virtually all of Australia’s coinage has been struck at the Royal Australian Mint (RAM) in Canberra. The RAM was established in 1965 specifically to facilitate the changeover from predecimal to decimal currency, and has always been armed with state-of-the-art minting equipment. Under these circumstances, you would think everything would work out perfectly, and every coin would be exactly as it was intended to be – but not so!

Error coin types…

Even the latest in minting technology and the most rigorous of quality control is not enough to stop blunders making it through the system and escaping into circulation. Off-centre strikes, upset dies, broadstrikes, split planchets, brockages, double-portrait or reverse issues, off-metal strikings – there are many types of Error coins, across all decimal denominations.

With most Errors worth way more than face value – the 2000 $1/10c Mule is worth thousands in better grade – their existence is a good reason to keep a close eye on your change.

Intended or known Varieties…

Sometimes the variation in the design of a coin is not due to a mistake – it can simply be due to a change in process, or an upgrade in technology. So, for example, the positioning of the reverse die in the production of the 1972 5c varied slightly, and, as a result, we have a ‘High Echidna’ type and a ‘Low Echidna’ type!

The 1994 Year of the Family 50c is known by ‘wide date’ and ‘narrow date’ types, and the 2000 Millennium 50c can be found with part of the Australian Flag on the reverse both raised from the surface of the coin, and, on rare occasions, struck into the coin – known as an incuse strike. These are all ‘Varieties’, rather than Errors.

Waltzing Matilda 1995 $1 C Mintmark Uncirculated Coin

Not-issued-for-circulation commemorative collector coins…

For several decades, the RAM has produced coins that were not intended to circulate at all, being struck in limited numbers, specially packaged, and sold to collectors. Just a

 few of many, many examples, the RAM has issued a 1995 Waltzing Matilda $1, a 2000 Victoria Cross $1 and a 2007 Lifesavers 20c.

These coins – and a multitude of other not-issued-for-circulation types – are struck to the same specifications as coins found in circulation, and are genuine, official Australian legal tender issues. Thus, although unusual, it does happen that these will be found in change – definitely coins to look out for!

Low-mintage issues…

Of course, a coin doesn’t have to be ‘different’ in some way to be a ‘treasure in your change’ – sometimes it’s simple mathematics! The RAM strikes coinage to demand, and what is required for circulation and, naturally enough, mintages vary wildly.

The 1985 10c, for example, had a mintage of just two million – the lowest of the denomination! The 1993 50c had a mintage of just one million, and if we look to the $1 coin, we see some extraordinarily low mintages. The 2014 Roos $1 had a mintage of 1.052 million, the 2016 Decimal Currency $1 had a mintage of just 560,000, whilst the RAM states that the 2022 Roos $1 mintage is a mere 10,000!

Remembering that Australian coin denominations are usually struck in the tens of millions – if not 100 million and more – these mintages are astonishingly low, and the aforementioned coins are naturally seldom seen in change.

When you also take into account all of the sought after colour $2 commemorative coins – virtually all of which have been produced in very small numbers – you’ll see that low-mintage issues give you a very good reason to keep your eyes peeled.

Not-issued-for-circulation standard types…

Throughout Australia’s decimal history, there are standard, non-commemorative dates in certain denominations that were never issued at all!

In this case, the particular coin was not required for circulation, and only appears in collector issues – primarily the RAM’s annual collector Mint Set. Some examples include the 1985 5c, the 1995 10c, the 1990 20c, the 1992 50c, the 1991 $1 and the 1991 $2. All not-issued-for-circulation standard, non-commemorative dates are worth well over face value, and well worth keeping an eye out for.

So, what to look out for? And how much is it worth? Watch this space!

Regardless of what sort of coin it is – an Error, a Variety, a low-mintage issue and so on – whether it’s a treasure or not will depend on the laws of supply and demand. If demand for a particular coin exceeds supply, then the price will inevitably rise. That ‘treasure in your change’ may be worth many times the face-value! Or it may be of historic value only, or simply of interest. Of course, that traditional ‘search through change’ is not only about finding a coin worth thousands – it’s also about the thrill of the chase, and just finding that something a little different.

Over the next few weeks, every 10 to 14 days, we’ll assess each Australian denomination, what you should look out for, and how much such coins might be worth. Until we meet again, happy hunting!

@downies_collectables Here’s what rare coins to look out for in your change! ????   #CoinCollecting #RareCoins #RareAustralianCoins #AustralianCoins #CirculatingCoins #MuleCoins #RedPoppy #IncusedCoins #CoinCollectors #cointok ♬ original sound - Downies_Collectables

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Hop into 2023 with the Year of the Rabbit!

Following hot on the heels of New Year’s Eve revelries to ring in 2023, the world is now excitedly gearing up to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Traditionally known as the Chinese New Year, this annual 15-day festival is one of the most important holidays in Chinese culture. Devotees will bound into the Year of the Rabbit with an explosion of colour, revelry and red envelopes, in a magnificent celebration that has gained many western fans in recent years.

Observed for thousands of years across Asia and the Asian diaspora, this colourful and joyful period has been widely embraced in Australia, and for good reason! Sydney's Lunar New Year celebrations are thought to be one of the largest outside Asia as millions join in to exalt new beginnings, family, goodwill, and love!

Originally an agricultural holiday, the ‘Spring Festival’ is believed to have originated during China’s Shang Dynasty. Lunar New Year carries with it a trove of traditions that are based on an amalgamation of history, symbolism, superstition and myth. People celebrate Lunar New Year in different ways depending on their culture and family history, but many common threads unite adherents in setting an intention for a lucky and prosperous future.

Because the Lunar New Year is determined by the cycles of the moon the dates change each year. 2023 Lunar New Year falls on January 22, with revelries lasting until February 5. A colourful tapestry of traditions, the festival is distinguished by firework displays, red clothing and beautiful paper decorations intended to usher out the old year and bring forth luck and prosperity. There are customs to honour relatives who have died, and bless loved ones and the young with coins and money in red envelopes. The culmination of festivities is the Lantern Festival, during which people hang glowing lanterns in temples in a night-time parade.

An important tradition is the designation of a zodiac animal to each new year, with the attributes of that animal determining the fortunes of those born under its influence. The origin of zodiac animals lies in the legend of the Jade Emperor, who decided that there should be a way to measure time. It is said that he commanded all animals to compete in a race, with the first 12 animals being rewarded by having a year dedicated to them.

The rabbit is the fourth animal in the 12-year Chinese lunar cycle. A demure animal reliant on intellect rather than strength, the rabbit is believed to manifest longevity, prosperity, hope and peace and is representative of the moon in Chinese culture. Those born in the year of this auspicious creature are seen as lucky, kind and sensitive. Rabbits are considered social beings whose attention to detail make them great scholars. This animal also makes for an elegant and eye-catching artistic subject and there are a range of exceptional and exclusive coins available to commemorate it…

Make sure to celebrate the Lunar New Year in style, or honour the rabbit in your life in the best way possible! Downies Collectables has a huge range of spectacular Lunar New Year coins and commemoratives in a range of precious metals, including pure gold and silver, to suit every budget! Plus, there’s FREE SHIPPING available for a limited time, making Downie’s customers some very lucky bunnies! So bound into action now and make the Year of the Rabbit one to remember!

Experience Holden’s ‘final roar’ at the VALO Adelaide 500

This December, the VALO Adelaide 500 will be back for the first time in three years, providing super-car enthusiasts with four action-packed days of adrenaline! The Adelaide street circuit is renowned for high-stakes racing and an electric atmosphere that draws enthusiasts from around the world. The 2022 event will not only provide fans with highly anticipated supercars, drivers and star-studded music acts, but will also feature a very special event close to Aussie hearts. A Holden Tribute Cruise has been announced to celebrate the country’s greatest auto icon as the sun sets on its racing history.

Indelibly linked to the history of Australian motorsport, the Holden brand has raced supercars for over half a century and produced a pride of legends doing it! The early 1990’s – 2020 represented the heyday of Aussie motorsport with Holden playing a critical role in the longevity of the V8 era - defined by jubilant crowds, mammoth sponsorship deals, megastars, as well as its fair share of drama, crashes and unforgettable moments! In Toranas, Commodores and Monaros, Holden’s legendary drivers celebrated a total of thirty-four Bathurst victories, twenty-one ATCC/Supercars championships, four Australian Rally Championships and two Bathurst 24 Hours!

On Saturday 3 December, a procession of Holden cars will travel from the former Elizabeth Holden factory to the Adelaide 500 street circuit at Victoria Park to commemorate the brand’s final supercars race at the VALO Adelaide 500. Ever the ‘people’s car’, Holden owners from across Australia have been invited to secure their place in the cavalcade by purchasing a Saturday ticket and seeing off this beloved brand with a ‘final roar’.

 “It is fitting Holden’s final race will be at the Adelaide street circuit and the Holden Tribute Cruise will give Holden fans a chance to commemorate this historic occasion.” says Premier Peter Malinauskas.

Further commemorating Holden’s grand legacy at the upcoming VALO Adelaide 500, fans will be treated to a display of 33 iconic Holden cars with the grand send-off culminating in legendary driver, Craig Lowndes, completing a lap of honour behind the wheel of a Holden. The perfect choice, Lowndes won three Supercars Championships, as well as four Bathurst 1000s in a Holden!

For the fans! The Final Roar Enamel Penny Set…

If you are a Holden, or motorsport, super-fan and want a memento of racing’s golden years, then the HOLDEN’S FINAL ROAR collection is not to be missed! An official Holden product, it includes seven GOLD PLATED genuine Australian pennies - featuring unforgettable cars from Holden’s racing history. From the first Holden to take part in an international racing event in 1953, through to the ‘Final Roar’ of the 2020 Bathurst win - this collection encompasses Holden’s triumphs through the decades! The perfect conversation starter, to reminisce about the good old days. Click here to view the great range of Holden and motorsport memorabilia at Downies Collectables and grab your HOLDEN’S FINAL ROAR collection today!

A new era dawns in the Star Wars universe!

Star Wars is entering the era of The Mandalorian! At the galaxy’s outer rim, in the chaos and lawlessness that follows the fall of The Empire, one man stands out - a mysterious bounty hunter who flies under the radar of the New Republic. The story of Din Djarin has all the makings of a classic. A decent man who lives by an ancient code in the lawless outskirts of the galaxy, trying to do right by his creed, and at the same time protecting a small child whose life has suddenly become entwined with his own.

By the end of season 2 the cheers were deafening and a consensus had emerged amongst fans - the connection between a lethal and lonely man and a lovable lost creature was a journey definitely worth the ride. The Mandalorian is fast developing into one of the best Star Wars adventures in recent times, delighting initiated aficionados and wide-eyed new recruits alike by offering a welcome return to the original spirit of the space fantasy. For those who spent their childhood captivated by George Lucas’s original movie masterpieces, The Mandalorian ties together various strands of Star Wars lore, bringing a fascinating new perspective to the much-loved universe.

The sketchy bars, colorful characters, bandits of all types and desolate towns in The Mandalorian have re-ignited a spark of nostalgia for the Star Wars of old, whilst offering up iconic new characters as well as Star Wars fan-favorites along the way. The irresistible enigma known to viewers as ‘Baby Yoda’ (officially ‘The Child’) has inspired thousands of memes and adoring new fans.

The Book of Boba Fett and an explosion of Mandalorian lore

So, what does the latest saga in the Star Wars universe have in store? The Book of Boba Fett is set to introduce a new side of the criminal underworld in the post-Empire galaxy, with the iconic green and red Mandalorian armor taking center stage in Boba’s very own spin-off story. Of course, there’s also Season 3 of The Mandalorian to look forward to…

When we last encountered Din Djarin he had defeated Moff Gideon and, by extension, become the rightful owner of the Darksaber and thus leader of the Mandalorians. Fans will be on the edge of their intergalactic seats to see how this development will be further explored in the story going forward.

In season 3 Pedro Pascal will be reprising his role as the gruff-voiced Mandalorian we all know and love, Carl Weathers will be returning as Greef Karga and Giancarlo Esposito as Moff Gideon. There has been a sugges

tion that a large number of Mandalorians will also be appearing in the upcoming season. Could this herald a return of the Mandalorian Protectors? If so, how will the destinies of our heroes be shaped? Whatever happens, fans are guaranteed a veritable explosion of new Mandalorian lore to look forward to!

The Mandalorian Collection has arrived on Aussie shores

If you are a Star Wars and Mandalorian super-fan, you will need something exciting to keep you going while you wait for all to be revealed in the new series! Why not check out officially-licenced The Mandalorian Collection, available exclusively in Australia from Downies Collectables. 

A thrilling adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat, no matter what part of the galaxy you come from with 15 MASTERFUL tributes - plated in REAL GOLD! Including all your favourites like Din Djarin, Cobb Vanth, The Mythrol, Boba Fett, Grogu and more. There’s also the officially-licenced Star Wars Original Trilogy Collection for fans wanting to take a trip down memory lane with a breathtaking 12-commemorative journey spanning George Lucas’ three original movie masterpieces. An absolute must-have for every Star Wars fan – check it out today!

Celebrate Holden's legendary role in the history of motorsport with the Final Roar Collection!

Holden raced legendary cars for over half a century and produced a veritable pride of icons doing it! The brand is indelibly linked to Australian motorsport and the history of supercars in our country. But what does the future of Australian motorsport look like with the end of Holden still fresh in fans’ memories? Before we can consider Aussie motorsport in a post-Holden era it’s important to look back at the role Holden has played in the evolution of Australian racing.

Holden’s legends and the golden years of Australian racing…

The early 1990’s – 2020 represented the heyday of motorsport in Australia, characterised by the epic rivalry of Holden vs Ford. Whether you were red or blue, you loved every part of it! Huge crowds gathered all year round to watch legends like Peter Brock, Dick Johnson and, more recently, Craig Lowndes. A distinctly Australian phenomenon, the incredible longevity of the V8 era saw over a quarter of a century of jubilant crowds, mammoth TV / sponsorship deals and megastars, as well as its fair share of drama, crashes and unforgettable moments!

In Toranas, Commodores and Monaros, Holden’s superstars have celebrated a total of thirty-four Bathurst victories, twenty-one ATCC/Supercars championships, four Australian Rally Championships and two Bathurst 24 Hours! The spiritual home of the iconic ‘Holden Lion’ has undoubtedly been the Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst, with Peter Brock effectively crowned ‘King of the Mountain’ with 9 record Bathurst wins in Holdens!

The first and final roar…

The 2020 Bathurst 1000 brought the curtain down on more than half a century of Holden’s distinct   influence on motorsport in Australia, which began with an effort led by noted journalist and driver David McKay. In 1968 McKay formed the Holden Dealer Racing Team - the first factory backed Holden team that ran 3 brand new Holden Monaro GTS 327's in the 1968 Hardie-Ferodo 500 at Mount Panorama, Bathurst. The winning Monaro being that of Bruce McPhee and Barry Mulholland.

The final round of the 2020 Supercars Championship, however, was a race like no other, marking the end of an era, with very few fans in attendance as a result of the COVID pandemic. Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander from Triple Eight Race Engineering started in fourth place and won the race, with Van Gisbergen securing his first Bathurst 1000 and Tander his fourth.

Life after the Commodore?

The sad fact remains - there will never be another factory Holden team in motorsport. This not only leaves the sport with an uncertain future, but also begs the question as to what happens to the substantial, and important, fan base that has been built up over the years. Mark Skaife, five-time champion of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, believes that these fans are essential to the future of motorsport in Australia and every effort should be made to re-engage them. “My dad told me it's much easier to keep a customer than it is to find a new one", Skaife has been quoted as saying. Skaife, who raced to three of his five Supercars victories in Holdens believes the way forward lies in bringing an ‘affordable’ yet ‘aspirational’ GM product into the series.

It’s not just Skaife who will be feeling Holden’s absence! It seems the old adage of keeping one’s friends close, but ‘enemies’ closer, rings especially true for Ford. Mark Rushbrook, Ford’s global head of motorsport, believes that his brand’s continued involvement in Australian motorsport as a factory-backed manufacturer hinges on the sport’s ability to re-create the old red vs. blue rivalry anew, with another manufacturer taking up Holden’s mantel. After all, Ford’s legacy in Australia was partly secured because they had a fantastic sparring partner!

Bring on Gen3!

With the introduction of Gen3 in 2022 just around the corner, Supercars has been feverishly working on what the next generation of V8 racers will look like, as well as overhauling the rules to make it easier, and cheaper, for manufacturers to get involved in the sport. Supercar’s head of motorsport Adrian Burgess says the Gen3 specification Supercars will now have even more relevance and ‘road car’ styling than initially planned. Boss Sean Seamer hinted the new design would result in better racing and safety.

The new V8 powered, front-engine, rear wheel drive cars will have smaller chassis, opening up the playing field and allowing a greater range of cars to compete in the future. This can only be good news. It is hoped that an emphasis on driver skill, as opposed to copious funds poured into R&D, will increase competitiveness and reduce costs. There’s also the idea that Supercars will start ‘homologating’ the cars – this means they will be developing the panels themselves - effectively allowing Supercars to represent the manufacturer’s product on the track.

"These are incredible looking race cars that give a nod to the supercar of the past, with as much attention given to the design and appearance of the cars as the new technologies. The Gen3 project will support the longevity of Supercars by increasing relevance to our fans and partners, reducing operating costs, and making the racing even fiercer.” Supercars CEO Sean Seamer.

Bathurst 2021

What about this year’s Bathurst? The iconic 6.2km Mount Panorama track has seen plenty of drama over the years, no less so in 2020 and 2021! The ‘Great Race’ will be shifted for the second year in a row from its early October start, as a

 result of the effects of the pandemic. New South Wales is battling one of the more serious COVID-19 outbreaks Australia has faced – effectively putting a lid on the annual Bathurst pilgrimage and fan experience. Supercars announced it will delay the Bathurst 1000 to November 4-7 to enhance the chances of a sizeable crowd at Mount Panorama.

For the fans! The Final Roar Enamel Penny Set…  

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Dig archaeology? These crazy theories will have you scratching your head, not the ground!

The Pyramids of Giza, Stonehenge, Göbekli Tepe - splendid archaeological monuments set in stone, or mysterious historical relics hiding long-lost ancient knowledge, undiscovered technologies and otherworldly cultures?

Archaeology, a serious science, has long inspired endless conspiracy theories and fantastical claims. Scientists have patiently offered rational explanations for the enigmas presented by history, but people just don’t seem ready to accept that our ancestors might have known a thing or two! So, let’s delve into (how shall I put it), the more ‘creative’ theories that seek to shed light on the mysteries of the past.

A tale of druids, giants and a Neolithic health spa …
When Sir Richard Colt Hoare was contemplating Stonehenge in 1810, he wrote “How Grand! How Wonderful! How Incomprehensible!” This sentiment still exists over 200 years later. For what could possibly possess the otherwise rational inhabitants of Neolithic Britain to heave huge boulders over miles of rough terrain (probably in the rain)?

If you were Geoffrey of Monmouth, the answer was obvious! Merlin, the wizard of Arthurian legend, outsourced Stonehenge’s construction to a local, obliging giant. “Why?”, you may ask and “For what purpose?”. That didn’t really seem to matter - it was a good story and many, many people in the 14th century believed it!

Fast forward a few hundred years and the theories don’t get any less inventive. In fact, archaeological conspiracy theorists seem to be getting more ‘stoned’ as the decades wear on! An academic, or two, have even joined in the fun. It has been suggested, by Professor Tim Darvill, that bluestones from nearby Wales, near traditional healing springs, were lugged all the way to Wiltshire to set up a Neolithic health spa of sorts. You know, as a place people could go 5,000 years ago to unwind from all the tedious toiling, farming and fighting.

If that reasoning doesn’t work, you can always blame the druids! Those mystical hippies of yesteryear seem like exactly the types who would be responsible for such an inexplicable construction. Popular culture has long associated these ancient Celtic peoples with Stonehenge - you’ve probably seen a film in which a hooded druid performs some dodgy ritual on a moonlight night beneath the stones. The fact that Stonehenge pre-dates the druids by 2000 odd years isn’t important in Hollywood!

In all seriousness however, it seems the famous bluestones have been re-arranged multiple times over the eons and as a result Stonehenge is not one monument, but many! Performing numerous functions throughout history and meaning very different things to diverse groups of people.

The aliens did it!
A long way south of Stonehenge, archaeologists and historians have been conscientiously toiling away at decoding the secrets of another wondrous historical marvel- the Pyramids of Giza. They’ve come up with a few decent ideas, something to do with ancient tombs and Egypt’s dead pharos, but who wants to hear about that? Far too terrestrial!

Ever since Howard Carter declared that he saw “wonderful things” when opening Tutankhamun’s tomb, conspiracy theorists and mystics just haven’t been able to resist. After all, how could mere humans thousands of years ago have achieved such wonders?

Those who have such little conviction in humanity certainly put their faith in the otherworldly – in the form of little green men to be exact. A favourite theme of TV shows, books and tussle-haired ‘specialists’ on documentaries is that the aliens did it! Tons of ‘evidence’ has been presented in the form of Pharaoh Akhenaten’s elongated skull, ‘remains’ of human-alien babies and 12-foot giants that once roamed the dessert. Not forgetting the many ‘fragments’ of mysterious technology.

What’s more, everyone seems to have become an expert! Presidential candidate Ben Carson famously declared that the great pyramids were used as grain silos (that’s a lot of complicated grain storage) and instead of sticking to rockets, SpaceX Mogul Elon Musk has offered his 2 cents worth. Musk has not only claimed extraterrestrials built the awesome structures, but also that they may have used them to garner energy from our planet.

The beginnings of the idea that alien architects may have had something to do with the great pyramids emerged with the publication of Erich von Däniken’s 1968 publication of the book Chariots of the Gods? Unsolved Mysteries of the Past. Cue the emergence of ‘cult archaeology’ or pseudoarcheology that outlines bizarre theories ‘using’ actual archaeological objects to support its claims. Credence is further created by its appeal to authority - often with ‘professionals’ spouting many of the theories, or flights of fancy (depending on your perspective).

It is true that the pyramids have not revealed all their secrets, but we do know how the stone blocks were moved because there is a depiction on a tomb wall that tells us! Huge blocks of stone were moved over ground on sledges made slippery with liquid, they were then brought up ramps to their final position. Some genuine mysteries around the pyramids do remain, for example we know very little about the interiors of these structures and archaeologists are starting to use new methods to explore what’s not accessible with technology.

US Egyptologist Dr. Sarah Parcak has used infra-red satellite technology to identify 1000 tombs and 3000 ancient settlements buried beneath the sands- including 17 new pyramids! According to Parcak, "...only 1/100th of one percent of archaeological sites in Egypt have been discovered. Our entire understanding of Egyptian history is based on these few discoveries. What we have discovered so far is just the tip of the iceberg." Whether these new discoveries will reveal creatures from 100 light years away remains to be seen – but I have my doubts.

A 12,000 year old space observatory?
At the core of the fertile crescent, near the city of Şanlıurfa in Southeastern Turkey, you will find the world’s oldest temple, Göbekli Tepe, dating from roughly 12,000 years ago. But is it also the site of humanity’s first space observatory?  Many strange things have been uncovered beneath the sand - towering T shaped pillars, evidence of ritualistic behaviour and strange animal carvings. A topic of countless news articles, documentaries and endless debates since it was first uncovered in by Klaus Schmidt in 1963. Staggering in its scale, Göbekli Tepe pre-dates farming and hints at one of the world’s oldest known civilizations.

Many theorists have tried to assign astronomical significance to the site – imagining supremely advanced ancient individuals shuffling amongst the stones, making complex mathematical calculations. Archaeoastronomers have argued Göbekli Tepe is aligned to the night sky and the star Sirius. Giulio Magli from the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy has proposed that the temple was built to follow the ‘birth’ of this particular star. “You can imagine that the appearance of a new object in the sky could even have triggered a new religion”, says Magli.

Some go even further and suggest that the ‘Vulture Stone’, or Pillar 43, points to a comet that struck the Earth some 13,000 years ago. Graham Hancock has argued in his book that sites like Göbekli Tepe are a “ghostly fingerprint of an advanced scientific knowledge impressed on the oldest myths and traditions of our planet.”

The dark side of the farce…
While it is important to keep an open mind, and pseudoarcheology certainly has its goofy side, there is dark side too! Alternate archaeology has been used in powerful, sinister ways to prop up bias, racism and nationalist agendas that have a profound impact on mass perceptions. Dangerous, as it has mostly been used to contradict conventional knowledge on archaeological monuments in Asia, South America and Africa - erasing the achievements of the ancient peoples of those continents and implying that some other explanation is necessary. Many examples exist of this tendency to search for alternate meanings throughout major archaeological sites -from Chichen Itza in Mexico to the Nazca Lines in Peru. These theories have very rarely been associated with the achievements of ancient Europe such as the Parthenon, or Colosseum. I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Could the truth be stranger than fiction?Mysteries of the World Collection
While mysteries certainly remain, and we should continue debating, searching and wondering - perhaps we should also accept that where the history of humanity is concerned, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Maybe we don’t need aliens, crazy technology and giants. The tenacity and ingenuity of the human spirit is enough.

As Alice Stevenson at University College London’s Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology notes about these ancient treasures, “They’ve been a source of wonder for many, many centuries,” she says. “I think that’s the nature of monuments - they transcend generations.”

We have some exciting info FOR YOUR EYES ONLY…. so do pay attention!

No Time For COVID!

It seems even Bond couldn’t escape COVID. No Time To Die was originally intended to hit cinemas in April 2020 - the London premiere was cancelled (along with everything else) when cases began to overtake the UK. Thankfully, after months of delays, the latest Bond installation is just around the corner, with a new release date confirmed for October 8, 2021. Good news for Bond’s birthplace - the UK will be able to get a first look at the latest adventure on September 30!

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, with a script co-written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, it’s Daniel Craig’s fifth and final tour of duty as the iconic spy. It promises to be quite the swan-song, with Craig noting, "I just want to go out on a high note, and I can't wait.” He is still oozing enough style to leave the audience breathless and anticipation is at fever pitch! With fans starved of their hero for so long, there has been much speculation, multiple trailers, clips, hints and interviews.

Producer Barbara Broccoli has revealed that No Time To Die is “a culmination of everything that his [Bond] portrayal of the character has been through, and it ties up all the storylines. It’s a pretty epic film, I have to say.” There’s plenty to talk about – so let’s jump right into it!

In the beginning, there was… Jamaica!

The opening of the film seems to find a rather chilled James enjoying some much-deserved R’R in Jamaica with Ms. Swann, the French psychologist and daughter of mysterious SPECTRE member, Mr. White. Bond seems to have found some Zen in retirement, blissfully in love, living a tranquil life. Unfortunately, events don’t bode well for Bond, who just can’t seem to catch a break, poor guy! The peace is shattered when Felix Leiter, an old friend from the CIA, arrives asking for help…

Valdo Obruchev, a scientist of some kind, seems to have disappeared and only our beloved 007 is equipped to sort it all out! Of course, Valdo didn’t get lost walking his dog in the park – he has been abducted, and Bond must confront a scheming villain whose evil machinations could result in the death of millions. The plot involves some sort of new and mysterious technology that, rumour has it, involves genetic warfare. If this is all sounding frighteningly familiar, we hear you! Here’s hoping it’s not the next variant of the Corona Virus!

Betrayal, an evil Rami Malek and a new 007!

No Time To Die will carry on directly from Spectre with heavy themes of betrayal thrown into the mix! The trailer presents Bond addressing Madeline Swann with the delectable line ‘We all have our secrets… we just didn’t get to yours yet!’ Ooooh … interesting!

There is a new villain to look forward to (cue maniacal laughter) in the form of ‘Safin’, played by the delightfully talented Rami Malek – who seems to really be relishing the role of the bad guy. “I promise you all I will be making sure Mr Bond does not have an easy ride of it in this, his 25th outing”, Malek quips. We can’t wait… there also seems to be a Blofeld return! Other familiar faces include Ralph Fiennes (M), Ben Whishaw (Q), Naomie Harris (Moneypenny), Rory Kinnear (Tanner) and Jeffrey Wright (Felix Leiter).

Hang on! A new 007?

There is also a 007 that’s not Bond - fresh out of whatever dark vault MI6 seems to keep their agents! When it was announced that there would be a new 007, rumours swirled that Daniel Craig’s replacement was, in fact, a woman. That wasn’t entirely true – the woman in question will NOT be playing the new Bond. Instead, she took over his secret agent number (007) after he left MI6 at the end of Spectre.

Nomi, played by British actress Lashana Lynch, is the new ‘007’– a formidable spy, well-versed in witty retorts, who whole-heartedly takes on the role. One of the most important characters in No Time To Die, she also embraces many of the 007 tropes, driving a black Aston Martin, and is totally in her element as a smooth operator at glitzy events. From the few snippets we’ve seen, she keeps up nicely with Bond!

What about the song? Enter Billie Eilish!

“Fool me once, fool me twice. Are you death or paradise?” … so croons Billie Eilish in the theme song for No Time To Die. The lyrics tantalisingly imply more deceit and betrayal for poor James in a very dramatic ballad! At 18, Eilish is the youngest singer to record a song for the franchise.  "Now you'll never see me cry," she concludes. "There's just no time to die." The spine-tingling words seem to confirm the theory that Daniel Craig's final tour as Bond will see him double-crossed by Madeleine Swann.

BOND voyage Daniel!

As the curtain draws to a close on Daniel Craig’s legacy as Bond, here’s hoping all questions are answered and he leaves us with some form of closure on the emotional character arc that began with 2006’s Casino Royal.

If you are a Bond super-fan, and let’s face it, if you’ve read this far you are, you need the awesome, James Bond Official Coin Collection in your life. Indulge in some nostalgia with a subscription collection of 25 pure silver coins struck by the Perth Mint, honouring all the iconic Bond films. Each coin comes with its own Certificate of Authenticity, featuring the original official poster artwork. A sweeping piece of cinematic history, all the blockbusters are included – From Russia With Love all the way to the Daniel Craig’s last, No Time To Die.

One thing’s for sure – whoever comes next as 007 has some pretty spectacular shoes to fill!

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