Coins

The END is nigh! Armageddon commemorated with coins

With a whiff of sulphur hanging in the air, mingling with the tortured screams of non-believers, the lines have been drawn on the final battlefield for the fight between good and evil – Armageddon!

The end of the world is currently firmly in the public consciousness, thanks to the link between the date December 21st, 2012 and the end of the Mesoamerican/Mayan long count calendar. A somewhat recent concern, many believe the ending of this calendar marks some sort of apocalyptic event. This view is not shared by scholars studying Mesoamerican culture, who argue that the Mayans expected the cycle to start again, much like the ending of a year in our standard calendar just means we need to buy a replacement for the fridge.

The end of the world has long been a subject of fascination throughout human history, with some going so far as to ascribe a location to the event. A place that has been the particular focus of much Western prophesying and speculation about the end of the world – dating back to the Book of Revelation – is over 10,000km away on the other side of the earth from Central America. Tel Meggido – the Hebrew name for the place commonly referred to as Armageddon and the location of the final battle according to the Bible – is of great cultural and archaeological significance.

Israel 2012 2NIS Armageddon 28.8g Silver Proof

Dating back to 7000 BCE, Tel Meggido has been the site of thirty different cities! A “tel” (or “tell” in English) is a settlement mound – a site where multiple settlements have built upon those existing previously through history; they are often places of great archaeological importance.  Occupying a position of strategic importance for numerous kingdoms, especially Assyria and Egypt, during the Canaanite and Israelite periods, Tel Meggido has already been pivotal in a number of great conflicts and trade routes through the ages.

In approximately the 15th Century BCE, the “Battle of Meggido” took place between Egyptian forces, led by Pharoah Thutmose III, and Canaanite states. This battle was important for a number of reasons; victory at this battle marked the start of the Egyptian Empires’ largest period of expansion, for example, and it was arguably the first reliably recorded battle in history. More recently, in 1918 during the First World War, Tel Meggido was the site of a battle between the Allied Egyptian Expeditionary Force and the Ottoman Yildirim Army Group, with the Allies gaining significant ground. Tel Meggido has also been the site of great cities at various times through the ages; for more information, see the Wikipedia entry on Tel Meggido.

Due to this fascinating and significant history, UNESCO decreed Tel Meggido a World Heritage Site in 2005. The Bank of Israel has chosen Tel Meggido as the subject of its fourth coin in the ‘UNESCO World Heritage Sites’ series and it has been struck by The Holy Land Mint.

Israel 2012 10NIS Armageddon 1/2oz Gold Proof

The legal tender coin is issued in both silver and gold, with the silver available in 1 and 2 New Shekel denominations, and the gold available in a 10 New Shekel variety. Extraordinarily exclusive given the global significance of the theme, only 1,800 of the silver 1 New Shekel have been made, with mintages for the silver 2 New Shekel and the gold 10 New Shekel a mere 2,800 and a miniscule 555 respectively. The obverse of the coin features an 8th century BCE seal found during an archaeological dig. The reverse features a jug, and the surprisingly advanced aqueduct system discovered at this most remarkable location.

Whether or not you believe the world will end in a month’s time or not, Tel Meggido remains a site of immense archaeological and cultural significance. It is a fitting world heritage location and subject for tribute in coin form. If you are interested in acquiring these special coins commemorating such a remarkable location, visit Downies.com. You might want to get your orders in by December 21st, just in case…

Israel 2012 10NIS Armageddon 1/2oz Gold Proof

Israel 2012 2NIS Armageddon 28.8g Silver Proof

Poppy palaver: The coin that came in from the cold

Donning cloaks and drawing daggers, the Royal Canadian Mint issued the first colour coin for circulation, the Canadian 2004 Coloured Poppy 25c. Given that Australia has just had its first circulating colour coin issue the 2012 $2 Remembrance Day commemorative – which also features a poppy and has been garnering a lot of attention – what better time to explore the inadvertently clandestine past of Canada’s infamous ‘Spy Coin’?

Issued in 2004, the Canadian quarter featured a brand new technology for circulating coins; colour! This unique concept so startled some travelling American army intelligence contractors that in 2007 they not-so-intelligently feared the coins were some sort of advanced espionage tool powered by nanotechnology. For those of us not embroiled in the world of tiny gadgets and secret agents, nanotechnology is any technology that manipulates matter on an atomic or molecular scale, usually meaning the manufacture of very tiny devices or structures. The contractors feared that the coins had some kind of tracking or listening device embedded in them, with some going so far as to claim that some of the dastardly coins had been planted on them! The confusion caused somewhat of an international incident and a flurry of concerned emails on both sides.

Cook Islands 2012 $10 Nano Earth - The World In Your Hand Silver Proof

Eventually the mess was sorted out and American spies accepted that the coins were nothing more than an innovative tribute for Remembrance Day, honouring fallen soldiers, much like Australia’s recent $2 featuring a colour poppy. What may startle some spies today is the existence of a coin that really does feature nanotechnology! The 2012 $10 Nano Earth Silver Proof has a tiny yet extremely detailed map of the world embedded in it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlmfxWelbIk

It’s so tiny, in fact, that you need a microscope to fully appreciate it in all its detail! The legal tender coin also features a full colour picture of the earth and is struck from 50g of sterling silver. Given the remarkable nature of the coin and a mintage almost smaller than the map itself – at only 1000 struck worldwide – this coin is sure to make a perfect conversation piece over a martini (shaken, not stirred, of course)! If you are interested in securing your own cutting-edge ‘spy’ coin, there are a limited supply at Downies.com – and don’t forget to pick up a microscope while you’re at it!

St George & The Dragon: The History...

According to tradition, St George (c256/285AD-303AD) was a Roman soldier from the eastern part of the Empire, who served under the Emperor Diocletian (284-305AD). Venerated as a Christian martyr, many fanciful stories about his deeds emerged over the centuries, including the most famous of all legends – the tale of St George & the Dragon.

Originating in the east, and brought back to Western Europe by the Crusaders, the story of St George & the Dragon revolves around a village threatened by a plague-bearing dragon. Originally appeasing the evil beast with a steady supply of sheep, the townsfolk were then forced to select their own children by lottery to sacrifice to the Dragon.

ImageUltimately, the King’s own daughter was chosen, and, following the townsfolk’s refusal of his wealth and property in return for her safety, the Princess was sent to the lake where the Dragon lived. Whilst she awaited her gruesome fate, St George appeared. Refusing the Princess’ plea to escape, St George waited for the dragon, and when it emerged from the lake, he fortified himself with the Sign of the Cross, charged at his foe and dealt the dragon a grievous blow with his lance.

According to legend, St George and the Princess led the wounded Dragon back to the town. Upon receiving a promise from the townspeople to convert to Christianity, St George killed the Dragon, with a church built on the spot where the lethal strike was delivered.

ImageEnshrined in art, literature and, of course, coinage, for approximately the last 1,000 years, the tale of St George & the Dragon, whilst varying slightly across cultures, is undoubtedly one of the world’s most celebrated folkloric tales. Today, Patronages of St George exist in many nations and cities around the world, including England, where the Cross of St George forms part of the national flag.

The 2012 $1 Dragons of Legend St George & The Dragon 1oz Silver Proof is now available online from Downies.com

St George & The Dragon: The History...

According to tradition, St George (c256/285AD-303AD) was a Roman soldier from the eastern part of the Empire, who served under the Emperor Diocletian (284-305AD). Venerated as a Christian martyr, many fanciful stories about his deeds emerged over the centuries, including the most famous of all legends – the tale of St George & the Dragon.

Originating in the east, and brought back to Western Europe by the Crusaders, the story of St George & the Dragon revolves around a village threatened by a plague-bearing dragon. Originally appeasing the evil beast with a steady supply of sheep, the townsfolk were then forced to select their own children by lottery to sacrifice to the Dragon.

ImageUltimately, the King’s own daughter was chosen, and, following the townsfolk’s refusal of his wealth and property in return for her safety, the Princess was sent to the lake where the Dragon lived. Whilst she awaited her gruesome fate, St George appeared. Refusing the Princess’ plea to escape, St George waited for the dragon, and when it emerged from the lake, he fortified himself with the Sign of the Cross, charged at his foe and dealt the dragon a grievous blow with his lance.

According to legend, St George and the Princess led the wounded Dragon back to the town. Upon receiving a promise from the townspeople to convert to Christianity, St George killed the Dragon, with a church built on the spot where the lethal strike was delivered.

ImageEnshrined in art, literature and, of course, coinage, for approximately the last 1,000 years, the tale of St George & the Dragon, whilst varying slightly across cultures, is undoubtedly one of the world’s most celebrated folkloric tales. Today, Patronages of St George exist in many nations and cities around the world, including England, where the Cross of St George forms part of the national flag.

The 2012 $1 Dragons of Legend St George & The Dragon 1oz Silver Proof is now available online from Downies.com

The World at War…

Strictly limited edition!
Just 1,000 issued worldwide!

The perfect partner for the highly sought after World War II Collection of Banknotes, Stamps & Coins,  sold out at super speed in 2011, Downies is delighted to present its successor – the 20th Century Wars  Collection of Banknotes, Stamps & Coins!

A hundred years of bloodshed…

A sweeping overview of one of the most devastating periods in the history of warfare, this dramatic presentation comprises an intriguing array of currency issues from nations involved in the major wars of the 20th century – World War I (1914-18), the 1917 Russian Revolution and subsequent Civil War, the Chinese Civil War (1927-50), the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), World War II (1939-45), the Cold War (1948-91) and the First Gulf War (1990-91). In highly collectable quality, with many items in perfect, unused condition, the set includes 12 banknotes, 7 coins and 30 stamps from 21 different countries!

A striking presentation…

An extremely professional presentation, the currency of each conflict is set behind archival quality plastic and housed in an embossed, hardback album comprising nine thick, sturdy pages. Beautifully illustrated, each page features an array of images from the war, and incorporates coins, stamps or banknotes, with the stamps and notes able to be removed and enjoyed ‘in the flesh’. Packed with information relating to each war, as well as the particular legal tender issues on the page, each hardcover album is housed in a sturdy, embossed outer case.

Just 1,000 sets issued!

A masterwork of military memorabilia, literally dripping with history, the 20th Century Wars Collection of Banknotes, Stamps & Coins is also extremely exclusive. A mere 1,000 sets have been issued worldwide! Given that its predecessor, the World War II Collection of Banknotes, Stamps & Coins, sold out so quickly that some of our clients were left empty-handed, we must recommend immediate action. Our limited allocation is sure to be overwhelmed by demand.

  • Exclusive! Limited edition just 1,000! Tiny number in Australia!
  • Includes 12 banknotes, 7 coins and 30 stamps – all in highly collectable quality
  • Each legal tender issue set behind archival quality plastic in illustrated, informative pages
  • Housed within a hardcover album in a sturdy, embossed outer case

The 20th century is largely defined by the two great global struggles of World War I and World War II. Sadly, however, these catastrophic clashes were merely the ‘highpoints’ of a century of human history that was engulfed by almost continuous conflict.

Comprising genuine, highly symbolic, official legal tender issues, the 20th Century Wars Collection of Banknotes, Stamps & Coins represents a fascinating record of this devastating period of bloodshed. Presented upon superbly illustrated pages, each packed with detailed information on the key wars of the last 100 years – WWI, WWII, the Civil Wars in Russia, China and Spain, the Cold War and the First Gulf War – the 20th Century Wars Collection of Banknotes, Stamps & Coins encompasses a whopping 30 stamps, 7 coins and 12 banknotes. Authentic artefacts of an horrific era of conflict – where major advances in the field of military technology only served to worsen the rate of casualties – each official legal tender issue found in this spellbinding presentation has a fascinating tale to tell.

From the last Hammer & Sickle coins of the USSR to the militaristic banknotes of communist Mozambique, from the Ho Chi Minh banknotes of Vietnam to the USA’s voluminous array of military commemorative stamps – to name but a few – every element of this outstanding collection forms a rich insight into the course of warfare during the 20th century.

A picture tells a thousand words they say, and this theory is potently illustrated by the art of propaganda – the means for the dissemination of often misleading information. It is easy to create a picture – but how do you ensure that your picture is seen by those you wish to see it? Throughout history, the world’s rulers have found the answer in official currency.

Whether conveying legitimate or misleading information, propaganda is never more important than during times of conflict. With the invention of the postage stamp in the mid-19th century, and the proliferation of official banknotes from the start of the 20th century, nations across the globe were armed with a three-pronged medium of propaganda. During the extraordinary variety of wars fought throughout the 20th century, virtually every government took advantage of official coins, stamps and banknotes as an effective means of propaganda.

Whether to extol the virtues of the issuing nation, or perpetuate myths about the enemy, official currency played a key role in getting messages across to the often beleaguered population of a country at war. Cheap to produce, colourful and used by millions of people, stamps were particularly useful in this regard – as illustrated by the great variety of fiercely propagandistic philatelic issues found in this outstanding presentation.

The Hitler Head and Swastika stamps of Nazi Germany, the Saddam Hussein portrait banknotes of Iraq, Canada’s ‘V’ for ‘Victory’ 1945 5c, the USSR’s Cold War stamps & notes, Fascist Spain’s vainglorious Franco stamps… the 20th Century Wars Collection of Banknotes, Stamps & Coins provides a compelling insight into the importance and widespread use of official legal tender as propaganda.

20th Century Wars Banknote, Coin & Stamp Collection Album is now available to purchase online from Downies.com!

2012 $100 Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle 1oz Gold Proof - 48 hours left...

With just 48 hours left for you to secure one of the remaining 10 coins in the Niue 2012 $100 Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle 1oz Gold Proof mintage, time is truly of the essence! A remarkable second release in what is destined to become a sell-out series, this superb full colour, one ounce gold proof is set to be one of the hottest releases of 2012!

With only two day remaining before the mintage is officially closed forever – head on over to Downies.com or CLICK HERE for further information.

Australia Remembers...

Marking the 70th Anniversary of the first wartime attack on Australian Soil, February 19 1942 saw 242 Japanese Planes launch the first of their 64 attacks on Darwin. An initial siege that lasted a mere 40 minutes, devastatingly stole the lives of more than 243 people – February 19 2012 marks beginning of the war on Australia.

Forced to leave the side of our Mother Country, 41 years after federation, Australia strengthened its alliance with the United States to combat what has now been described as Australia’s Pearl Harbour. With much focus protecting the northern border of Australia, on May 31 1942, three Japanese midget submarines, five large mother submarines and two sea planes attempted to invade Sydney Harbour. An attack that was of limited success with only one of the submarines firing its torpedoes, missing the intended target and instead hitting the depot ship, HMAS Kuttabul – fear began to penetrate the once believed invincible Australian culture.

Issued to mark the 70th Anniversary of the start of these attacks, the Royal Australian Mint has issued three unique Australian legal tender releases commemorating those who lost their lives protecting our borders.

Never to be issued into circulation, to secure the 2012 50c and 20c Shores Under Siege trio – head on over to Downies.com today!

Niue 2012 $100 Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle 1oz Gold Proof

Prestigious, desirable and highly limited, the 2012 $100 Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle 1oz Gold Proof is one of the most exclusive gold issues of 2012 thus far!

The epitome of numismatic craftsmanship, each 1oz beauty is struck to the height of Proof quality from an entire Troy ounce of.9999 fine gold. A spellbinding legal tender issue, paying homage to one of the most renowned native Australian creatures – the Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle, each 38.61mm diameter flan is adorned in full colour upon a frosted background and mirrored field.

Depicting the intricate detail of Australia’s largest raptor in fully struck-up high relief, this superb gold Proof is destined to command the attention of every collector who is enchanted by the unparalleled beauty and rarity of the world’s favourite precious metal! Restricted to a global mintage of just 150 coins, this prestigious, edge numbered Proof is only to be enjoyed by the privileged few!

The ultimate tribute to a species facing the brutal realities of extinction, head on over to downies.com to secure what is sure to be one of the hottest issues of 2012!

Canada 2011 $100,000 Spirit of Haida Gwai 10 Kilo Gold Proof

A pioneer in numismatic excellence, the Royal Canadian Mint has achieved the unthinkable - crafting to absolute perfection the world's first 10 kilogram .99999 pure gold coin!

Proudly Canadian, this captivating design features the late Bill Reid's masterpiece; 'The Spirit of Haida Gwai', across its mammoth 180mm diameter reverse. A prestigious legal tender issue and a fine tribute to artistic expression, the 2011 $100 000 Spirit of Haida Gwauu is the highest denomination 10 kilo coin. With just 15 coins crafted for collectors of fine art and numismatic innovation, each coin is hand polished from the purest gold in the world.

A testament to Canadian workmanship for further information on this coin or other Canadian issues, please contact our VIP Client Liaisons Toll free on 1300 789 VIP (847) or email vip@downies.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2n8Eh68cfHo

Blood, Sweat and Tears...

An epic battle that witnessed not only a record-making final as the longest ever Grand Slam title match, 2012 also celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Australian Open.

With temperatures reaching well over 30 degrees, Novak Djokovic defeated Rafeal Nadal in an incredible 5-set match lasting a grueling 5 hours and 53 minutes! Drawing a crowd of 15,000 people, Djokovic became only the fifth man to win three consecutive majors since the Open Era began in 1968.

2012 $1 100th Australian Open Men’s Trophy Al-Br Unc

Issued in celebration of this century old event, the Royal Australian Mint announced their newest commemorative – the 2012 $1 100th Australian Open Men’s Coin Toss Al/Br. Specifically released to be used for the coin-toss in this history-making battle, each Al-Br coin issue is crafted to Uncirculated quality. Issued as official Australian legal tender, the reverse of this iconic coin features curved stripes that mirror the rubber strip on a tennis ball together with the winning Men’s trophy.

Housed within a triangular shaped coin holder, this honorary issue is sure to ace its way to a slamming sell-out! Head on over to Downies.com to secure yours today!

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