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.

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!

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!

2011 Beijing International Coin Exposition East Meets West 1/2 oz Two-Coin Set

Spectacularly sought after, the 2011 Beijing International Coin Exposition 2-coin set has left hungry collectors frantically searching to secure their ‘East Meets West’ souvenir.

A culturally combined issue, the Perth Mint has intricately united elements of Beijing and Australia – delivering one of the most popular 2-coin sets of the year.

Beijing Show

Struck from ½ ounce of .999 pure silver, each coin has been endorsed as official Australian Legal Tender and is fittingly presented within an illustrated envelope. Housing the signature Perth Mint Year of the Dragon coin issued for the highly anticipated arrival of 2012, the second coin pays tribute to an Australian Koala asleep in a eucalyptus tree.

With a tiny global mintage of just 2,888 sets, of which nearly two thirds walked out the doors in Beijing, we are currently trying to secure an allocation directly from the mint. For those interested in trying to attain what has been one of the hottest 2-coin releases of 2011, stay tuned to www.downies.com for further information on our allocations!

2012 Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle 1oz Silver Proof

Majestic, Exclusive & Stunningly Rare!

An extremely exclusive tribute to a renowned Australian species, the second release in the sold out ‘Extinct and Endangered’ series pays tribute to one of the most distinctive birds of prey – the Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle.

Spectacularly powerful, forcefully independent and the ruler of the sky, the Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle is one of the most extraordinary creatures found within open plains, forests and mountains of Tasmania. Classified as endangered by both the Commonwealth and Tasmanian Governments, the Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle faces the brutal realities of extinction. With an estimated population of 1,500 with only 130 pairs capable of breeding, fierce efforts are being put into place to maintain this majestic creature in our skies.

Struck to Proof quality from .999 fine silver, the full-colour obverse portrays this remarkable animal surrounded by the rustic terrain of the Tasmanian Highlands. Superbly crafted from The Perth Mint’s highest minting standards, this 40mm Proof is housed within a glossy ‘birds-eye’ wood grain presentation case and accompanying numbered Certificate of Authenticity.

A truly spectacular second release, this official Australian legal tender coin is restricted to a tiny mintage of just 5,000. Available for purchase online, head on over to Downies.com!

For more information or to purchase online, please click on the appropriate link:

Australia

North America

PART I – THE THREE KINGS BLOG SERIES

A legendary battle that instigated Medieval England

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the notorious Three Kings of 1936, comes the Niue 2011 $5 Three Kings of 1936 Silver Proof.  Issued in remembrance of a series of chain reactions that saw the passing of George V, voluntary abdication of Edward VIII and finally the crowning of George VI, the Three Kings of 1936 was an extraordinary event in Great Britain’s Monarchy. However as history would have it, for the English Throne it was history repeating itself…

1066, a year that historian’s celebrate as the beginning of Medieval England and the first year in which the Kingdom of England welcomed four kings to the throne.

Three Kings Silver Proof

With the passing of Edward the Confessor (1042-66), Edgar, the closest living relative of Edward was proclaimed. Whilst extraordinarily young and spending much of his time in Hungary, the people of England knew very little of Edgar – a critical measure that ultimately lead to his default in being crowned King of England, enabling Harold Godwinson to step in and take the throne. The most powerful nobleman in England and the Earl of Wessex, Harold Godwinson claimed that Edward had promised the throne to him on his deathbed. With the noblemen in the country agreeing to the change in power, Harold was crowned King just two days after the death of Edward the Confessor.

Once news spread that Harold Godwinson was the new King of England, William the Conqueror decided to claim what he believed to be rightfully his. With a promise being made two years prior to the death of Edward, in 1064 Harold was placed in captivity by Count Guy de Ponthieu. With a choice to take the payment from William for his freedom and pass up the opportunity to be King upon the death of Edward or spend the rest of his life in captivity, Harold chose freedom – returning to England to resume his life as a nobleman.

With no written evidence of this agreement, Harold defended his actions by claiming that William had blackmailed him into passing up the throne, and therefore his claim was not valid. For further complications, the King of Norway and Denmark Harold Hardrada came forward indicating that the Danes had in the past conquered England and therefore the throne was rightfully his.

With three men claiming that they were the rightful heir to Edward, two battles were played out – the Battle of Stamford and the Battle of Hastings, which ultimately led to the death of both Harold Godwinson and Harold Hardrada and the crowning of King William I on Christmas Day 1066.

A tale that the English Throne witnessed a further three times and experienced again in 1936 – these stunning chronicles shaped the future and fate of the British nation. The 2011 Three Kings of 1936 Silver Proof is available for purchase at www.downies.com.