First ever currency minted in Australia; Holey dollar was originally created to address coins shortage in the new colony of New South Wales founded in Australia in 1788. Back in 1812, Governor Lachlan Macquarie imported 40,000 Spanish Silver dollars (1810) minted at the Lima Mint in Peru, and had convicted forger William Henshel cut the center out of each, to double the number of available coins. The resulting ‘donut or ring’ was then counter-stamped over with New South Wales words, the five shillings value and the date '1813' to create first Australian coin, the 1813 Holey Dollar, while the remaining center was renamed as Dump. Now after almost 200-years, one of the rare Holey Dollar ‘Hannibal Head’ which speak eloquently of the creative and improvisatory attempts to create an orderly administration, have fetched $425,000 at the Coinworks Eminent Colonials Auctions, setting an auction record for a coin of its type.
The coin ‘holey dollar’ sold was however the only example of its type in private hands, and the other known example have been housed in the State Library of New South Wales. Historically, the Hannibal Head Holey Dollar is treated as special because the original Silver dollar coin was minted at the Lima Mint back in 1810, with a controversial portrait design that actually protested Joseph Bonaparte’s ascension to the Spanish throne by use of an unflattering portrait.
Along with Holey Dollar, the auctioneer responsible for the Coinworks Eminent Colonials Auctions in Melbourne, Dealer Coinworks also auctioned an 1852 Adelaide Pound, the Australia’s first gold coin for $382,400, and an 1813 Colonial Dump coin got sold for $103,000.
However, we have also earlier seen the sale of the world’s largest gold coin by Perth mint for whopping $57.34 million, the most expensive 1930 Australian copper penny, besides the list of the world’s most expensive coins.
UPDATE: The coin fetched $508,000, a new world record price for an Australian coin.