A private collector has paid a record Aus$495,000 for one of Australia’s first coins, the so-called Holey Dollar.
The coin is one of 40,000 Spanish Silver
Dollars that Governor Lachlan Macquarie bought in 1812 to solve a
currency shortage in the fledgling penal colony of New South
Macquarie enlisted the help of a convicted
forger, William Henshall, to cut a hole in the centre of each coin
to prevent them leaving the colony.
The resulting 'donut' was then stamped with
the words New South Wales, the value Five
Shillings and the date 1813 to create Australia's first
The disc removed from the centre became
known as the 1813 Colonial Dump, with a value of 15 pence.
Withdrawn from circulation in 1829, most
Holey Dollars and Dumps were sold as bullion. Of those that
survived the smelter, there are now only some 300 left, of which
200 are in private hands.
This particular Holey Dollar was created
from a coin minted in Lima, Peru in 1808. Melbourne dealers
Coinworks, who negotiated the sale, say it is the finest specimen
of its type.
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