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“Holey Dollar and Dump” Major Highlights of Stack’s Bowers Official Auction of the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Chicago

By Greg Cohen, Numismatist & Consignment Director, U.S. & World Coins; based on the lot descriptions by Kent Ponterio & Chris Chatigny

Author: Greg Cohen, Kent Ponterio, Chris Chatigny / Wednesday, July 09, 2014 / Categories: Crossing the Block

The first coins issued in what is now the Commonwealth of Australia were issued out of necessity, using the internationally useful Spanish colonial silver 8 reales as host. The centers of the eight reales were punched out, and around the hole, were inscribed NEW SOUTH WALES 1813 on the obverse side, and FIVE SHILLINGS with a wreath on the reverse. The large hole in the center of the coin led to the nickname of “Holey Dollar,” and the moniker has stuck. The central punched out portions were not wasted as they were struck with a simple FIFTEEN PENCE on the obverse and crown in the center with NEW SOUTH WALES above and 1813 below on the reverse. These 15 pence coins became known as “dumps.” Having a pairing of a “Holey Dollar and Dump” in one sale is a rare opportunity for specialists. These types are so revered by collectors that the Royal Australian Mint made commemorative restrikes in 1988 and the Perth Mint issued a special Bicentennial issue last year. The two pieces we are offering both have prestigious pedigrees and are in outstanding condition for their respective types. Both descriptions are offered in their entirety below. If Australian numismatics is your specialty, be sure to study the descriptions and review the coins in hand during our lot viewing sessions.  

AUSTRALIA. New South Wales. 5 Shillings or "Holey Dollar", 1813. NGC VF-30. KM-2.9; Mira/Noble-1799/7 (plate coin); Spalding-81. EXCEPTIONAL RARITY with a distinguished pedigree. Part of the first series of coins minted for, and in, the British settlement of New Holland "Australia". Struck in 1813 and issued in 1814, during the governorship of Lachlan Macquaire. Described by Mira and Noble in their standard reference as "Pride of place in any collection of Australian colonial coinage". This RARE issue circulated for a short period of time as they were recalled in 1829 when they were ordered to be replaced with "English Specie" which brought their circulation to an end. The recalled coins were shipped to the Royal mint where the bulk of the original issue of almost 40,000 was melted down. Dies: I/5: A/4 (Spalding 81).

The countermarks are sharp and clear for both the obverse and the reverse. The central hole was not fully punched out in one quarter (slightly off center), and some minor amount of metal remains within the punched out hole. Attractive gray toning. Tied with one other coin for finest certified by either NGC or PCGS, with only two other pieces (struck on Peru 8 Reales) graded higher by NGC for the entirety of the "Holey Dollar" denomination. A high quality coin with an interesting history and an impeccable pedigree, worthy to be included in the most sophisticated of collections.

Ex: A. Thellusson Collection, Sotheby's October 1931, lot #403. Ex: C.C. Browne Collection, Sotheby's March 1935, lot #564. Ex: Major A. Foster Collection, Glendinings October 1953, lot #22. Ex: G.E. Hearn Collection. Ex: K. Frost Collection Sold Max Stern & Co., November 1976, lot #226. Ex: Roy Brook Collection, P.J. Downies September 1978, lot #351. Ex: Spink Australia Sale 24, March 1988, lot #1041. Ex: P.F. Worth Collection.

AUSTRALIA. New South Wales. 15 Pence or "Dump", 1813. PCGS EF-45 Secure Holder. KM-1.3; Mira/Noble-type D/2. VERY RARE. Part of the first series of coins minted for, and in, the British settlement of New Holland "Australia". Struck in 1813 and issued in 1814, during the governorship of Lachlan Macquaire. Described by Mira and Noble in their standard reference as "Pride of place in any collection of Australian colonial coinage". This RARE issue circulated for a short period of time as they were recalled in 1829 when they were ordered to be replaced with "English Specie" which brought their circulation to an end. The recalled coins were shipped to the Royal mint where the bulk of the original issue of almost 40,000 was melted down.

Excellent quality for type and the finest example graded by either PCGS or NGC. A boldly struck example with attractive toning that exhibits shades of grays and blues with lighter tones around the devices. Traces of the original coin are visible on the obverse. Struck over the central portion of a Spanish colonial portrait 8 Reales with some details of the arms of Castile and Leon visible. A diagonal die break is present from the rim through the second "1" of the date to just below the crown. An exceptional example that any collector would be proud to own. One of the finest known specimens.

Ex: G.K. Gray Australia 26.2.71 lot 222; Ex: Spink Australia sale 17 lot 1033.