Downies News

WE’RE OPEN FOR BUSINESS AS USUAL!

There are new restrictions on Victorian businesses taking effect on Thursday 6 August, but Downies Collectables customers will be able to continue collecting the things they love without interruption!

Our online store is OPEN 24/7! You can still shop online with us at any time you like, our team is working hard at home to keep bringing you the best new releases the world has to offer in coins and collectables.

SHOP NEW RELEASES>>>

Keeping our customers, staff and families COVID Safe is our number one priority! We have a strict COVID Safe Plan in place and we are fully committed to ensuring your parcels are packed and dispatched in a safe and hygienic way. We’re abiding by the standards set out by the Victorian Government and are using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), maintaining social distancing at all times, and frequently cleaning our work spaces.

Our Contact Centre staff are still available to answer any queries you may have. As always, please feel free to get in touch via our Contact Us page.

Our Melbourne store will sadly be closed from Thursday 6 August, but our dedicated Store Manager, Matt Thompson, will be working from home and is available to answer any queries you may have by email or phone.

As an Australian owned and operated family business, we’re committed to supporting our community because we’re all in this together. Let’s stay safe and look after one another.

New Brands Coming Soon to The Downies Collectables Family

Downies Collectables are excited to announce our new suite of brands joining the family, and introduce a new and improved shopping experience for all. Our new brands Macquarie Mint, Biante Model Cars and Apex Replicas will be coming to Downies Collectables very soon and we wanted to give you an introduction.

Macquarie Mint

Founded fifteen years ago by a family of coin collectors, Macquarie Mint has since helped hundreds of thousands of people build their own collections through a convenient monthly subscription service. Subscribers enjoy the most exclusive, prestigious and highly sought-after collections delivered direct to their door in easy and reliable monthly shipments.  

Biante Model Cars & Apex Replicas  

Car enthusiasts, this one’s for you! Biante and Apex Replicas specialise in producing limited-edition model cars, boats, planes and bikes that Australians love. Start your car collection journey with all your favourite car brands including Holden, HSV, V8 Supercars, Ferrari and more.

Downies, Macquarie Mint, Biante and Apex Replicas share the same goal -  we’re passionate about collecting and we want to help people collect the things they love! We’re excited to be expanding the Downies Collectables family and can’t wait to share these new products with you.

Our Client Services Team is always happy to help, you can email them or call 1300 798 368 Monday-Friday 9am-5pm EST.

We Are Moving ... Websites

Macquarie Mint are excited to join the suite of brands under Downies Collectables for a new and improved shopping experience at www.downies.com. There, we will be joining with brands Downies, Biante and Apex Replicas to make your collectables experience the best in Australia.

The countdown is on and we are very excited. The move will take place soon, with the closure of Macquarie Mint’s website, set to be announced closer to the end of July. You’ll be able to browse and buy all the products from the Downies Collectables family of brands in one place with one easy checkout.

Ken Downie, Downies Collectables Managing Director, said: “We are ecstatic with the launch of our new website and the merge of Downies, Macquarie Mint, Biante and Apex Replicas. Our new website is designed to deliver a transformed online experience for our customers and create a one-stop-shop for all varieties of collectors.”

Macquarie Mint will continue to offer the ease and convenience of their best-selling subscription plans, and you’ll be kept up-to-date through our emails and catalogue mail-outs. Your regular subscription deliveries will continue without interruption.

The current Macquarie Mint website will operate as usual until the move. Once the move is complete, you’ll not only be able to find all of Macquarie Mint’s best-selling product, but you’ll be able to browse an online treasure-trove across all of the Downies Collectables brands – bringing you the absolute best the world has to offer in coins and collectables.

When the new website opens, we’ll email you to be the first to discover the best collectables in Australia. We look forward to helping you to collect the things you love.

Our Client Services Team is always happy to help, you can email them or call 1300 798 368 Monday-Friday 9am-5pm EST.

   

Downies pays homage to Elton John with The Royal Mint's Limited Edition Coins

 

Fans of Sir Elton John may still be reeling from his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour and retirement announcement.


But some relief may be found in The Royal Mint’s announcement to produce a series of coins that pay tribute to his legacy.

In his time, Elton John has made more than 4,000 performances and sold over 300 million records worldwide. Producing an incredible number of hit singles, Elton is undoubtedly one of the world’s truly great music superstars.

The legal tender coins come in 99.9% pure gold, silver and non-precious metal and feature his iconic glasses and straw boater hat on the reverse side.

Sir Elton is pleased to have his contribution to the music industry recognised this way. "The last few years have contained some of the most memorable moments of my career, and this is another truly humbling milestone on my journey", he said.

Downies has secured a small allocation of the collection as an official distributor for the Royal Mint, so get in quick and secure yours today! 

Shop the Elton John 2020 Range Today

 

 
 
 
 

Brought back to Australia by Downies

Recently reappearing on the market, having been brought back to Australia by Downies after held for decades in a European collection, the 1819 Sydney Halloran School Prize Silver Medal is a crucial piece of early Australiana. One of Australia’s earliest works of medallic art, with a quite remarkable history, this gigantic 73mm silver medal is also a truly great Australian rarity.

The man behind the medal – Laurence Halloran

Orphaned at a young age, Halloran joined the Royal Navy in 1780, but deserted two and a half years later after brutally stabbing another sailor to death with a sword. He was acquitted of the charge of murder at the Exeter Assizes in 1783, and then, somewhat perversely, turned his hand to the role of educator. As it happens, he successfully ran private schools for more than a decade thereafter, before his school at Alphington, near Exeter, was closed due to insolvency. It would not be the first time that Halloran would experience serious financial difficulties.

Posing as a chaplain, which was another intriguing theme underpinning his life, Halloran rejoined the Royal Navy in 1798, serving as secretary to Lord Northesk, third in command under Admiral Horatio Nelson. Halloran was present at the famous Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, serving upon the Britannia during Nelson’s famous victory against the forces of Napoleon Bonaparte. He then set off for South Africa, being appointed chaplain to the military forces at the Cape of Good Hope. Although this new endeavour started well, he fell out with the commander of the colonial military. Resigning his commission in protest, the end of his African sojourn came when he was heavily fined and banished from the colony for defamatory libel, following the publication of a satire on ‘South African Characteristics’.

Halloran found life difficult when he returned to England from South Africa, and struggled to find employment. As a result, he turned to forging official documents in a bid to continue his bogus career as a chaplain. Having been found in possession of ‘copper plate for making impressions of Deacons’ and Priests’ orders’, he was convicted of forgery, and sentenced to seven years penal servitude in the colony of New South Wales.

Friends in high places: Halloran in Australia

Arriving in Sydney upon the transport Baring in June 1819, Halloran discovered that an old friend from South Africa, John Thomas Campbell, was the Vice-Regal Secretary. Exploiting the connection, Halloran had Campbell recommend him to Governor Lachlan Macquarie, who almost immediately issued Halloran a ‘ticket of leave’. It was also Macquarie who played a key role in helping Halloran, in 1819, establish a school – known at the time as ‘Dr Halloran’s Establishment’.

The forefather of Sydney Grammar School, today one of Australia’s leading private schools, Halloran’s establishment was very successful. Indeed, Governor Macquarie stated at the time that Halloran was ‘the best and most admired instructor of youth in the Colony’. Alas, Halloran’s unrelenting penchant for writing libellous material saw him constantly in trouble with the law. This led to financial problems, and although he moved the premises of the school frequently, in an attempt to avoid his creditors, Halloran was jailed for debt several times in the 1820s. Governor Darling appointed Halloran as Sydney coroner in 1828, but, true to form, he lost his position after threatening to publish defamatory material about the Sydney archdeacon!

The birth of the Silver Medal

Whilst headmaster of the school, Halloran had prize medals created from 1819 until at least 1826. From the first year of issue, the 1819 Sydney Halloran School Prize Silver Medal was awarded to Robert Campbell – a man who was ultimately active in politics, and part of the successful drive to end convict transportation. Recognised as one of Australia’s earliest examples of medallic art, the medal was the work of Samuel Clayton – another remarkable figure in this amazing tale of early Australia!

Like Halloran, Clayton was both born in Ireland and transported to the colony as a convicted forger. To the surprise of his peers in Dublin, where he was a highly respected citizen, an admired engraver and an upstanding Freemason, Clayton was sentenced to seven years penal servitude for producing counterfeit revenue stamps in a large-scale fraud operation. Arriving in Sydney in December 1816, he was given a conditional pardon in January 1818, and set about establishing a career as a painter and engraver.

Even before he was officially pardoned, Clayton had carved his name into Australian history by creating the printing plates for Australia’s first banknotes – issued by Australia’s first bank, the Bank of New South Wales, in 1817. Interestingly, he was also the founder of the first regular Freemason lodge in the colony, and is therefore known as Australia’s ‘Father of Freemasonry’!

Known as the finest silversmith in the colony in the years after his arrival from Ireland, he also created the prize medals for Laurence Halloran’s school. As you will see from the image above, ‘S. Clayton’ is emblazoned upon the imposing 73mm diameter flan of the 1819 Sydney Halloran School Prize Silver Medal awarded to Robert Campbell.

Underpinned by such a remarkable history, combined with both breathtaking rarity, immense beauty and the connection with one of Australia’s most prestigious schools, the 1819 Sydney Halloran School Prize Silver Medal is a crucial artefact from the earliest days of modern Australia.

The 1819 Sydney Halloran School Prize Silver Medal is featured in Downies' Rarities catalogue! For more images of the medal, click here to view it on our website. 

The image of Laurence Hynes Halloran above is courtesy of the State Library of New South Wales ML 1057 from a painting by Augustus Earle, c. 1825.

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Qantas Coins Coming Soon!

Australian coin collecting is set to soar to great heights with an exciting, upcoming collaboration between the Royal Australian Mint and Qantas!

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New Gruffalo Coins Coming Soon

Celebrating 20 years of the famous children’s book, two more Gruffalo coins are about to take the Australian coin collecting world by storm.

 

He has terrible tusks, and terrible claws,

And terrible teeth in his terrible jaws.

He’s the Gruffalo!

-  Julia Donaldson, The Gruffalo

In 1999, a children’s book was released that would captivate the hearts and imaginations of kids across the globe. British author, teacher, singer and songwriter Julia Donaldson had struck gold with The Gruffalo, her charming tale of a canny mouse evading danger in the woods.

Adapted from a Chinese folk tale, the premise was simple.

Afraid of being eaten by the many sinister creatures asking him to dinner, a mouse invents an even greater foe: the gruffalo. His plan works, deterring his would-be attackers … Until he actually encounters a gruffalo, that is! Now what will he do?

The Gruffalo – a storybook phenomenon

Paired with delightful illustrations by Axel Scheffler, the story was an instant smash-hit. It spawned a follow-up in The Gruffalo’s Child, multiple stage plays, a film, toys and even a theme park ride. And this year, thanks to the Royal Mint, this whimsical tale has received more tributes: in cupro-nickel and precious sterling silver.

Initially released in February this year, a first wave of coins featured the Gruffalo’s iconic face. The Gruffalo proof coin, struck from sterling silver, sold out within hours of release. Demand was fierce, with children and collectors alike eager to get their hands on these beautiful British coins. And now, fans’ hearts are about to skip a beat: there’s a new design on the way.

The new Gruffalo coin

The mouse and the gruffalo face off against one another in this captivating scene, straight from the pages of the book. It has been captured in vivid full-colour on the silver Proof version, while the Brilliant Uncirculated coin showcases the Royal Mint’s superb minting standards.

The coins will be available for order later this month, so stay tuned for more information!

But for now, if you walk in the woods, best to be careful, just in case.  There’s no such thing as a Gruffalo …as far as we know.

Want to add the newest Gruffalo coins to your collection? Keep an eye on Downies’ Gruffalo range for updates!

 

Ford GT Legend Reborn!

With the arrival of the Ford Falcon XR in 1966, Ford Australia created a legend with the introduction of the GT nameplate to the Falcon range. From the XR model through to XB, the GT line emerged as the high-performance model from the Falcon range and the “Aussie Muscle Car” was born. 

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