News

The Royal Mint Unveil Fifth Distinctive Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II

Today the Royal Mint unveiled what is to be the fifth and last portrait of Queen Elizabeth II to be featured on commemorative and circulating legal tender.

Fifth Difinitive Portrait

Unveiled at a ceremony in London's National Portrait Gallery this morning, the portrait has received a positive response from both the industry and the general public.

This is an historic occasion in Commonwealth currency, as it will be the last portrait of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II to feature as the obverse effigy for circulating coinage in Great Britain and several other countries in the commonwealth. The design was chosen by a closed competition commissioned by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee, with the winning entry by Royal Mint engraver, Jody Clark. He is the first Royal Mint engraver to be chosen to create a definitive royal coinage portrait in over 100 years. At 33 years of age when his design was chosen, Jody is also the youngest of the five designers to have created the portraits of The Queen that have appeared on UK circulating coin during her 63 year reign. Previous portraits of the Queen have been designed by Mary Gillick (1952-1968), Arnold Machin (1968-1985), Raphael Maklouf (1985-1998), Ian Rank-Broadley (1998-2015).

The announcement of the new design was made in January, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the passing of Mary Gillick, who designed the first effigy in 1952. The new design comes in the year that Queen Elizabeth II is to become the longest reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, surpassing Queen Victoria's reign of 63 years and 216 days.

The new portrait design will start to appear in circulating coinage later in the year but is available now through a variety of Royal Mint 2015 coin sets.

It is likely, given the history of the obverse design of coinage from the United Kingdom, that Australia will be adopting this new design for it's circulating and collector coinage soon.

Mint of Poland Strikes World First Spherical Coin

Seven Wonders of the New World Silver Coin

Mennica Polska (The Mint of Poland) has, in the past, presented the world with an array of innovative numismatic products - from the Amber Road series to the Fortuna Redux. They once again raise the bar on just what is possible in numismatics when they unveiled the world's first globe coin at the recent World Money Fair in Berlin.

The silver globe, known as the "Seven Wonders of the New World" coin, has been struck from 217.7 grams (7 ounces) of 99.9% fine silver to a diameter of 34mm. It has a total worldwide mintage of just 1,007. Struck using minting technology specifically developed by the Mint of Poland, the design of the coin is taken from the world map "Nova totius terrarum orbis geographica ac hydrographica tabula" - hand drawn by Dutch cartographer Willem Janszoon Blaeu in 1638. At seven points on the globe are embedded Swarovski crystals to signify the location of the Seven New Wonders. The New Wonders of the World are: Chichen Itza (Mexico), Christ the Redeemer statue (Brazil), the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu (Peru), the ancient city of Petra (Jordan), the Taj Mahal (India), and the Roman Colosseum (Italy).

The coin is presented in a themed case, designed to look like a suitcase. More information about the unique minting technology can be found at Coin World's website.

The most secure coin in the world? How The Royal Mint is fighting back at crime!

The discovery of a multi-million dollar international counterfeiting and smuggling ring has prompted The Royal Mint to redesign their 1 pound coins. A Dutch crime organisation, who had set up their own modern minting facility complete with legitimate sounding company name and credentials, had been targeting the UK pound coins for some time before British detectives were able to track the counterfeit coins back to their Amsterdam origins. Estimates are that £45 million worth of counterfeit £1 pound coins circulate in the UK economy today and it is this figure that spurred the Mint on to reform this everyday circulating coin.

According to a story in The Independant "British police tipped off their Dutch counterparts, who raided the premises at the European Central Mint (ECM) and arrested the owner, after discovering machines capable of producing hundreds of coins per minute."

There is even talk that the counterfeiting extends beyond the UK pound coin and into the realm of Euro currency.

The Royal Mint released a statement on March 19 stating they have “developed world-leading anti-counterfeiting technology which will enable Her Majesty’s Treasury to modernise the United Kingdom’s circulating currency with the production of a brand new £1 coin.

OnePound

As shown in the image above, the coin will feature a unique 12 sided shape, reminiscent of the UK’s own pre-decimal threepence coin and Australia’s 50 cent coin. The coin will be struck from two different coloured metals and contain an iSIS security feature, developed specifically by the Royal Mint themselves.

A public design competition will get underway at a later date to determine the design for the face of the coin, expected to be released into circulation in 2017. The obverse will feature the traditional Queen’s head motif with name and year of issue.

With a clean slate being offered on the reverse design we ask you, what would you like to see emblazoned on the new £1 release?

The 25th Kidney Kar Rally!

The 25th Kidney Kar Rally commences today, with Ken and Kath Downie participating in the challenge to raise money and awareness for Kidney Health Australia.

To date this year they have raised over $20,000 for this worthy cause!

They’re heading off from Tamworth and racing to Armidale in their trusty Downies rally car, pictured below:

Kidney Kar Rally

By the end it’s going to look a lot dirtier!

Kidney Health Australia are planning a lot of events in the towns the rally will pass through to raise awareness, including giving free kidney checks and presentations to some of the schools along the route!

To donate, please visit KidneyKarRally.com.au or click here to purchase a KKR medal, all the proceeds of which go to Kidney Health Australia.

The Penny has dropped: Canada to stop minting the 1 cent piece

In a major break with tradition, Canada is doing away with the humble penny. Citing cost of production and weakened buying power due to inflation, the Canadian Government is to phase the 1 cent piece out of circulation from February 2013. 2012 is the last year the penny will be struck for circulation and the change is causing quite a stir amongst numismatists, for a number of reasons. It’s also leading some to speculate that the Australian 5 cent piece could be next.

A coin with a fascinating history, the Canadian penny denomination was, from 1858 to 1908, struck in England and shipped to Canada for use in circulation. The penny would ultimately become one of Canada’s first domestically produced coins, with the recently opened Royal Canadian Mint first striking the denomination in 1908. With several dates from the penny series attaining notoriety due to interesting background events or great rarity, this denomination has gained a significant following worldwide. For example, a 1923 King George V penny in Brilliant, Uncirculated condition could potentially realise upwards of $2,000 at auction, signifying interest in the history of the Canadian penny.

Canadian Penny - Reverse

Perhaps the most famous example of that history is the 1936 dot cent. After the Death of George V in early 1936, dies were made that featured King Edward VIII, for use in 1937. Upon Edward’s abdication those dies became unusable, so the existing 1936 dies were used, with the addition of a dot under the date to distinguish them. Once new designs were available, the 1936 dot cent was destroyed. With only three known to exist and a recent sale fetching $400,000, it’s a prime example of the important place in numismatics of lower denomination coinage generally, and the Canadian Penny in particular.

Despite this rich history, the financial reality is that the 1 cent piece in Canada has proven too costly to produce. With a production cost 1.6 cents per coin, plus the cost of handling the millions of coins in circulation borne by banks and businesses, the Canadian government has decided to ditch the nation’s lowest denomination coin.

This change has driven demand for commemorative sets, as any change in circulating currency is, rightfully, watched very closely by numismatists worldwide. Demand for Canadian pennies of all kinds will only increase as they become progressively scarce.

This end of an era is part of a growing trend followed by a number of countries to remove their lowest face-value coins from circulation, and it raises the question: should Australia stop producing the 5 cent piece? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Skip the queues this festive season – Downies delivers great gifts!

With time running out to get the perfect gifts for your loved ones – and shops only getting more hectic as the season enters fever pitch – Downies has you covered. You can shop for the perfect gift for collectors young and old, easily and securely from the comfort of your own home.

2013 RAM Mint Set

If you are stuck for an idea, why not consider something special, like the Royal Australian Mint’s 2013 Mint Set, featuring Australia’s very first full-colour 20c coin! Along with this super set, Downies is currently including a booklet comprising reprints of six classic illustrations of the humble platypus. With a retail price of A$14.95, the booklet is yours FREE with your order of the 2013 Mint Set.

2013 RAM Proof Set

If you are looking for something extra special, consider the Royal Australian Mint’s 2013 Proof Set, featuring Australia’s very first selectively gold-plated 20c coin! Sure to make an extremely well-received gift, if you order the 2013 Proof set today, you will also receive a copy of Platypus booklet FREE.

Double Downies deal – get even more if you order both sets today!

Downies is offering EVEN MORE if you take action now and purchase both sets together; not only will you get TWO copies of the Platypus artwork booklet (worth $29.90 combined), you will also receive a FREE 1937-56 Zoological 6-stamp Set (value $5.95). That’s a total bonus value greater than the cost of the Mint set by itself, yours free! Supplies are extremely limited, so click here to secure the deal before we run out!

Downies delivers again!

I know that’s a lot to take in, but wait – it gets even better!

To make shopping for presents even easier this year, Downies is offering half-price shipping throughout Australia on ALL ORDERS placed from now until the 31st of December! With shipping just $4.00 for orders under $100 and $6 for orders over $100 – and FREE for orders over $500 – you now have every reason to avoid the queues and visit downies.com!

Doing our part for the conservation of the Tasmanian Devil!

To a lot of people outside Australia, particularly in the USA, the name ‘Tasmanian Devil’ most likely conjures up images of the Bugs Bunny Show, where a cartoon tornado would whirl into view and out would pop a growling, snarling, crazy beast!

Native to the island of Tasmania, the real-life Tasmanian Devil has, like it's cartoon cousin, a reputation for being snarly and cantankerous – although this is more myth than anything else, as Devils would rather flee than attack humans. An iconic Australian native, the Tazzy Devil is, sadly, quickly becoming endangered, due to a rare form of facial tumour that has spread like wildfire through the Tasmanian Devil population.

First seen in 1996, Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) has ravaged Tasmania's wild Devils, with over 65% of the state affected. As a result of the deadly ailment, experts estimate that the Tasmanian Devil population has declined by 20% to 50%. The disease is an example of a transmissible cancer, which means that it is contagious and passed from one animal to another.

The Devils @ Cradle Tasmanian Devil Sanctuary focuses on Tasmania's three carnivorous marsupials, concentrating primarily on the Tasmanian Devil but including both the Eastern and Spotted-tail Quoll. The Devils @ Cradle Sanctuary breeding program is vital to the long term conservation of the Tasmanian Devil, which is now threatened by Facial Tumour Disease. The program aims at sustainable breeding of this small but fearsome marsupial, with the intention of release into the wild. For further information, see www.devilsatcradle.com.

Downies is the proud sponsor of ‘Mortimer’, a young Tasmanian Devil at the Devils @ Cradle Tasmanian Devil Sanctuary. We encourage our valued clients to visit the Devils @ Cradle Sanctuary website and take part in this worthwhile conservation program.

2012 $1 Deadly and Dangerous Funnel Web 1oz Silver proof - SOLD OUT

Deadly and Dangerous Funnel Web - Sold Out

Demonstrating that the Deadly & Dangerous 1oz Silver Proof Series is far from dead, the latest edition – the 2012 $1 Funnel Web 1oz Silver proof – has sold out in what may well be the quickest time of all coins in the series thus far! The seventh coin in this incredibly popular series, the Funnel Web was actually all but sold out before Downies headed to the Melbourne ANDA coin show last weekend with the remaining 20 coins in hand. Of course, those coins were snapped up very quickly and thus every last one of the 5,000 coin mintage had been allocated.

Now, however, the sell-out is officially announced, and all collector minds begin to consider – will there be an eighth Deadly & Dangerous coin in 2013? And, how can I guarantee that I secure one for my collection? The answer…

Stay tuned to Downies.com!

Downies Top 20 Coins for 2011

Over the past twelve months, mints across the world have combined innovation, precision and absolute excellence delivering you ground breaking releases, sure to compliment every collection. As 2011 closes and 2012 begins, we are proud to announce our top 20 releases that made international success for craftsmanship, design and popularity.

Over the coming weeks join us as we announce the top twenty coins, declaring ‘Downies most popular issues for 2011’. A range that is undefinable in quality and prestige, stay tuned to see who takes out number one!

Number 01:Tuvalu 2011 $1 Box Jellyfish 1oz Silver Proof

The sixth release in perhaps the world’s most popular series – the 2011 $1 Box Jellyfish 1oz Silver Proof has been declared Downies top coin for 2011! This sensational addition to the renowned Deadly & Dangerous Series is a characteristically stunning example of the unparalleled, full-colour minting techniques found across the industry!
Tuvalu 2011 $1 Box Jellyfish 1oz Silver Proof

Number 02: Niue 2011 $100 Tasmanian Tiger 1oz Gold Proof

The first release in a 1oz Gold series, the 2011 Tasmanian Tiger Gold Proof is one of the most desirable and exclusive issues to be released in Australia. Limited to a mintage of just 150 coins, each individually edge numbered release truly is the pinnacle of numismatic craftsmanship.

Number 03: Tuvalu 2011 $1 Tasmanian Tiger 1oz Silver Proof

The first release in the sell-out Extinct and Endangered series, the 2011 Tasmanian Tiger 1oz Silver Proof forms a dramatic tribute to one of Australia’s most distinctive, mysterious and famous creatures – the Tasmanian Tiger. Soaring in collector value, this spectacular .999 pure silver issue was limited to just 5,000 coins.

Number 04: 2011 $1 Treasures of Australia Pearl 1oz Silver Proof

The final release in the Perth Mint’s highly successful Treasures of Australia collection captivated collectors across the globe. Highlighted by the inclusion of a genuine Australian Pearl in the centre of the coin, each 40.60mm diameter flan was limited to a maximum mintage of just 7,500 coins.

Number 05: Niue 20122 $200 The 3 Kings of 1936 2oz Gold Proof

A spectacular tribute to the iconic Three Kings of 1936, this highly exclusive, two ounce coin is struck to the highest of Proof quality from .9999 fine gold. An excellent 75th Anniversary theme, each uniquely diamond shaped issue brings together traditional and modern numismatics, forming a truly unique tribute for only 75 lucky collectors!

Number 06: 2011 Proof Set

The most popular Royal Australian Mint issue of 2011, the annual Proof set houses the six standard Australian circulating denominations. Globally admired and struck to the unparalleled levels of the RAM, 2011 was only the third time since 1990 that the annual Proof issue has comprised Australia’s six ‘classic’ coin designs.

Number 07: Niue 2011 $5 Last Tasmanian Tiger Lenticular Silver Proof

Defined by the superb lenticular design, official legal tender status and flawless silver Proof quality, this 2011 release pays tribute to the 75th anniversary of the death of the last known Tasmanian Tiger. Restricted to a mintage of just 3,000 coins, this highly significant release sold out at exceptional speed!

Number 08: 2011 Mint Set

A crucial annual release of 2011 – the Royal Australian Mint’s yearly release has again been one of the most popular releases of the year. Similar to the first Mint Set issued in 1966, each 2011 Set is comprised of the original decimal designs for the year; each set is struck to Brilliant Uncirculated quality from carefully selected and prepared blanks.

Number 09: 2010-2011 50c Royal Wedding Gold Plated 2 Coin Set

Comprise of official Australian coins celebrating both the Royal engagement and the marriage of HRH Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton, this Royal Australian Mint issue is struck onto the iconic dodecagonal 50c. Selectively gold plated and intricately detailed, there is little wonder as to why this two coin set was the most popular of the Royal Wedding issues throughout 2011!

Number 10: 2011 $1 Royal Wedding 1oz Silver Proof

Featuring the official engagement photograph of the Royal Couple and a detailed, raised image of Westminster Abby, each coin is struck to the highest standards of the Perth Mint. Comprised of an entire ounce of .999 fine silver, this silver Proof was the only Australian Crown-sized tribute to the Royal couple.

Number 11: Niue 2011 $100 Last Tasmanian Tiger Lenticular Gold Proof

A spectacular tribute to the last known Tasmanian Tiger, this innovative, 8-part, moving lenticular Gold Proof received instant success across the globe. Highly sought after for its incredible mintage of just 75 coins, each tribute is crafted from an entire ounce of .9999 fine gold.

Number 12: GB 2011£5 Royal Wedding Gold Proof

An official Royal Wedding issue, this massive 39.94g Gold Proof was the only British Royal Mint release to hit our top twenty! Celebrating the wedding that stopped the globe, this prestigious and extremely exclusive Gold Proof was limited to a miniscule mintage of just 3,000 coins.
2011 Royal Wedding Gold Proof

Number 13: 2011 Discover Australia Dreaming 1oz Silver Proof Collection

A fine collection of Aboriginal Art and an exceptional Australian legal tender presentation, this 2011 Silver Proof Collection forms a diverse tribute to the iconic wildlife found across the nation. Comprised of five full-colour, 1oz silver Proof coins, this 2011 Collection is the final release in the 2008-2011 Discover Australia Dreaming series.

Number 14: 2011 $1 100 Years Royal Australian Navy 1oz Silver Proof & Badge Set

Celebrating the Perth Mint’s first release of 2011, this eye-catching tribute to the centenary of the Royal Australian Navy was by far one of the most popular Military releases of the year. Headlined by a crown-sized silver Proof each set featured an authentic, full-colour Royal Australian Navy badge replica.

Number 15: Cook Islands 2011 $5 Koala and Eucalyptus Leaves Silver BU

The first distinctly Australian themed ‘rub & sniff’ coin, each innovative legal tender issue releases the fragrance of an Australian Eucalyptus Tree. Eye-catching, vibrant and underpinned by a strong Australian theme, this silver BU was one of the more innovative coins of 2011.

Number 16: 2011 $1 Rams Head C Mintmark Silver Proof

Reviving one of Australia’s most admired coin designs originally issued on Australia’s Predecimal Shilling, the $1 Rams head silver Proof was the 2011 addition to a sought after annual series that began in 1992!

Number 17: 2011 Two Coin Unc Set

Historic, affordable and exclusive, the 2011 Two Coin Unc Set houses both the $1 and 20c coins adorned with iconic wheat designs. Issued as part of the RAM’s annual coin release, the 2011 Unc Set was one of our most popular issues of 2011!

Number 18: 2011 50c 60th Anniversary Of National Service Cu-Ni Unc

A unique addition to Australia’s highly sought after commemorative 50c series, this Military themed tribute pays homage to the 60th anniversary of Australian National Service. A distinctive and highly affordable Royal Australian Mint issue – we celebrate those who have fought for the nation in a variety of global and regional conflicts.

Number 19: 2011 $1 Great Australian Battles – Gallipoli 1oz Silver Proof

Devoured by global collectors due to the first release status, the 2011 Gallipoli 1oz Silver Proof is an outstanding tribute to Australia’s Baptism of Fire in World War I. Boasting a mintage of just 5,000 coins, each Silver Proof is housed in Perth Mint presentation and completed with a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.

Number 20: Niue $33 Sistine Chapel Silver Proof Collection (33)

Highly sought after for the sheer size, the 2011 $33 Sistine Chapel Silver Proof is the largest ever legal tender commemorative issue! Devised from thirty-three interlocking, full colour coins each release is struck to Proof quality from an entire kilo of silver.

 

2012 Coin of the Year awards! And the nominees are…

Perhaps one of the most prestigious award ceremonies for numismatics, the American Numismatic Association in accordance with Krause Publications, has just announced the nominations for the 2012 Coin of the Year awards.

With categories ranging from most historically significant and best contemporary events to most inspirational, innovative and artistic releases seen throughout 2010 comes an array of designs that undoubtedly enticed the global.

Amongst the most popular coins nominated – judged on commercial sales, international appeal, artistic calibre and the indefinable qualities of ‘popularity’ – included Canada’s Poppy, United Kingdom’s Countdown to London Olympics (2011  and 2012  issues still available)  and Tuvalu’s Deadly and Dangerous Eastern Brown Snake (2009 Saltwater Crocodile still available ).

A collection of diversity and intrigue, head on over to Coinweek.com to view the full list of nominations.

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