Penned by noted 19th century Australian ornithologist, John Gould, Downies issues its second Birds of Australia coin

It was only four months ago that we looked at the first in a new series of nature coins from Australian producer, Downies, themed around the bird world, and featuring the Eastern Rosella, a member of the parrot family. The art is taken from the work of John Gould, a British ornithologist highly regarded in bird circles, often talked about alongside Audubon for his contributions.

This is a relatively simple coin, struck in an ounce of fine silver, and coloured on the reverse face. These coins live or die on their aesthetics, and fortunately, Gould does the business again. The picture of what we presume is a mating pair, likely wasn’t painted by John Gould, but probably by his wife Elizabeth, who, along with a select few other artists, including the noted Edward Lear, illustrated his books. It’s a gorgeous image yet again, following the original quite closely. Those illustrations likewise had coloured birds on monochrome backgrounds.

The reverse is nice and clean, with just the bird name, and a custom ‘JG’ privy mark honouring the man, present with all the specification and denomination inscriptions out of sight on the obverse. The packaging is a nice piano black box, holding a Certificate of Authenticity, and itself packed inside an attractive themed shipper. The mintage is capped at 750 units, and it’s available now.


The Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo (Lophochroa leadbeateri), is also known as Leadbeater’s Cockatoo or Pink Cockatoo. Named after Major Sir Thomas Mitchell, a prominent 19th-century Australian surveyor and explorer, this species is renowned for its pretty appearance and captivating personality.

It has a soft, pastel-pink plumage, vivid red and yellow crest, and striking white and pink face. These medium-sized parrots possess a gentle disposition and are known for their playful and intelligent behaviour. Their melodious calls add charm to their character, making them a popular choice among avian enthusiasts and pet owners alike.

Despite their beauty, Major Mitchell’s cockatoos face significant threats in the wild, including habitat loss and illegal pet trade. The oldest recorded pink cockatoo died at 83 years old.


Born in Lyme Regis, Dorset in 1804, John Gould was a noted ornithologist, garnering much recognition in his own lifetime for his work studying birds, even referenced by Charles Darwin in his pivotal “On the Origin of Species”.

He produced noted works of his own, including a five-volume Birds of Europe, mostly illustrated by his wife, Elizabeth, which gave him the wealth he needed to visit Australia.

He spent over two years there, and the end result was the seven volume ‘The Birds of Australia’, containing over 600 plates, and 328 birds new to science. It was a seminal work, leading to Gould being known as the father of Australian ornithology.

COMPOSITION 31.1 g of 0.999 silver