The 2015 $1 Colour Poppy Coin is coming to Downies!

We are pleased to announce that the limited edition 2015 $1 WWI War Heroes Colour Coin featuring the red poppy motif is now available to order from Downies!


This official Australian legal tender coin was originally part of a promotion that saw fourteen 20 cent coins made available to the general public through newsagents over a two week period. The colour $1 coin was initially released exclusively to News Corp subscribers, and we were therefore surprised to learn that we would be soon receiving an allocation of the coin from the Royal Australian Mint. Thus, we are now able to pre-offer this exclusive $1 coin to the broader Australian collecting public.

This spectacular $1 coin features a poppy field design with a large central poppy motif rendered in an eye-catching red hue. At the top is the inscription ‘WWI – War Heroes’, while at the bottom is the coin denomination of ‘1 Dollar’. On the obverse side is the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, designed by Ian Rank-Broadley. Like regular one dollar coins struck by the Royal Australian Mint, the War Heroes coin is made from Aluminium-Bronze and measures 25mm in diameter. Unlike other dollar coins however, this colour release has been struck with a ‘frosted’ appearance, and only 13,500 coins have been minted for distribution worldwide.

12146packWhilst we have received confirmation of our allocation from the Royal Australian Mint, the nature of the News Corp promotion means that a fixed date for delivery of the coins from the RAM has not been confirmed at this stage. We are expecting, however, that delivery from the RAM will take place by early June. We will be sending an email notification to those who order this coin as soon as we receive a firm delivery date.

Click here to pre-order the 2015 $1 WWI War Heroes Colour Poppy Coin

100th Anniversary of the first AIF Convoy

Although April the 25th and November the 11th are perhaps better known, November the 1st is one of the most important dates in Australian history. It was on November the 1st 1914, exactly 100 years ago this Saturday, that Aussie soldiers began the long voyage from Australia to fight for King & Country in ‘the war to end all wars’.

Ships bunkering in Princess Royal Harbour.

Ships bunkering in Princess Royal Harbour.

The last piece of Australia seen by most of the original AIF volunteers as they set sail to war was Albany – the town on the Western Australian south coast from which the huge troop convoy embarked on the 1st of November 1914. For many of the men, it would be the last of Australia they would ever see. Viewed by many as the first chapter of the Anzac Story, and, indeed, the birthplace of the Anzac Spirit, Albany is once again the focus of national attention.

A guard of the 5th Battalion on board A3 HMAT Orvieto, 1914.

A guard of the 5th Battalion on board A3 HMAT Orvieto, 1914. Source:

The 100th anniversary of the departure of the first AIF convoy from King George Sound is naturally being honoured, with a wide range of commemorative events to be held in Albany this month. A Naval Ship Open Day; a community concert with the West Australia Symphony Orchestra; an historical light & sound show; Anzac projections & storytelling; musical & choral school performances – and much, much more.

Anzacs departing Albany in 1914

Anzacs departing Albany in 1914. Source: City of Albany

Indicative of the importance of this major anniversary, a wide range of commemorative coins have been launched, giving all Australians the opportunity to pay homage to those who served the nation with such distinction during the 1914-18 First World War.

Click here to see these stunning tributes.

At The Block: What treasures will be found in Downies coin Auction 314?

The second sale in Downies Australian Coin Auctions’ 50th anniversary year is ramping up. Viewings commenced on Tuesday the 3rd of July and are currently underway, with Sale 314 itself running from July 9th to 11th. Interest is obviously high thanks to the ongoing anniversary celebrations, but there is another reason. In the first sale of the year, Sale 313, two extremely rare, if not unique, previously undiscovered  mules* were found – an numismatists around the globe wait with bated breath to see if a similar discovery will be made in Sale 314.

The first of the two mules in question was a halfpenny mule with a British obverse partnered with a New Zealand reverse, dated 1965 and graded brown EF, is pictured below:

Halfpenny 1965 muled with British Halfpenny obverse

The second, truly astonishing, mule was an Australian 50c piece with the appropriate 1977 Elizabeth II obverse, but the standard Stuart Devlin coat of arms reverse. Every 1977 50c piece was intended to bear a special commemorative design to celebrate the silver jubilee of the Queen and the coin in question simply should not exist – and there are no records in standard collecting guides of it doing so prior to Sale 313 this year.

Fifty Cents 1977 coat-of-arms reverse instead of the normal silver jubilee reverse (weight 15.41gms)

Esteemed numismatic writer Dr. Kerry Rodgers recently wrote an excellent article on the matter – published on here.

As for Sale 314 – what will it bring? Could Australian numismatics be lucky enough to discover yet more heretofore unknown rarities? Let us know what you think in the comments.

*For those who are wondering, in numismatics a ‘mule’ is a coin “whose obverse die is not matched with its official or regular reverse die” (take from McDonald’s Coin guide).

Celebrating the centenary of Australia’s first stamps… HUGE 24-carat gold stamps!

Your opportunity to own

Comprising genuine, original examples of Australia’s first two stamp types, this remarkably affordable presentation forms a wonderful way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the launch of Australia’s first national philatelic system.

Although unity was achieved at Federation in 1901, it took more than a decade for the Commonwealth Government to launch Australia’s first national postage stamps – the Kangaroo & Map 1d and the George V Portrait 1d. Offered in highly collectable Fine Used condition, and presented within an attractive, informative pack, the chance to add these historically crucial types to your collection for just A$14.95 must not be missed!


A strong statement of national sovereignty, and a crucial juncture in the history of the young nation, Australia’s first stamp was released on 2 January 1913 – and instantly sparked huge controversy.

Although Australia’s new Constitution gave the Commonwealth control over ‘postal, telegraphic, telephonic, and other like services’ at Federation in 1901, it was not until 1911 that priority was given to the creation of Australia’s first stamp. It was in that year that the Postmaster-General’s Department launched a Stamp Design Competition, with the winning design featuring a facing portrait of George V.

Members of the ruling Labour Government were opposed to the King’s portrait being used on Australian stamps, however, with Charles Frazer, the Postmaster-General, believing that every letter leaving Australia should bear an ‘advertisement of the country on its stamp’. As Frazer believed that a stamp picturing the British monarch did not represent the new nation, he favoured a stamp uniting a kangaroo and a map of Australia. Highlighting the extremely political nature of the controversy, the new conservative government, upon election in June 1913, commissioned a new series of stamps to replace the Kangaroo stamp, with the George V Portrait 1d released in December 1913.

Ironically, considering the stormy debate surrounding the creation of Australia’s first two stamp types, the Kangaroo & Map series and the George V Portrait series would co-exist for the best part of a quarter of a century!

Australia’s first stamps in pure GOLD!

A lavish, prestigious tribute to the 100th anniversary of Australia’s First national philatelic series, launched in 1913, this breathtaking presentation comprises massive versions of the nation’s first stamps – crafted from pure 24-carat GOLD!

Perfect recreations of these historic 100-year-old stamps, the 1913 Kangaroo & Map 1d and 1913 George V Portrait 1d look absolutely sensational when crafted from the world’s favourite precious metal. Measuring 75mm x 58mm, and therefore much, much larger than the original stamps, this glittering golden duo is superbly presented within a solid acrylic stand – ideal to display your prestigious new acquisition.

Perfect for the home or office, and excellent collector value at A$175, each 24-carat gold stamp set is accompanied by examples of the original stamps – valued at A$14.95 but yours for FREE!

  • Comprises recreations of Australia’s first two stamps – crafted from 24-carat gold!
  • Bigger than the original, each gold stamp measures a massive 75mm x 58mm
  • Includes FREE original examples of Australia’s first two stamps – valued at A$14.95!
  • Fantastic value-for-money at an affordable A$175
  • Beautifully presented within a high-quality, solid acrylic display stand, housed within a sturdy outer box

. . . and get the original stamps for FREE!

Buy the sensational 24-carat gold stamps above, and receive the ‘First Australian Stamps Pack‘ – valued at A$14.95, but yours for FREE!

Now available to purchase online via

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 today!