For the buyer that is keen to grab an example of Australia's first coin - the 1813 Dump - we offer six solid reasons why this coin is worth owning.
The 1813 Dump circulated widely in the colony, the extreme wear on most Dumps evidence of its extensive use. The average quality Dump is graded at Fine to Good Fine, with this coin four to five grades higher at Good Very Fine / About Extremely Fine. We rate it in the top eight per cent of surviving examples. The coin has obviously been cherished for it has been brilliantly preserved with beautiful toning and highly reflective fields.
Struck with the A/1 dies, the crown is classically well-centred. The design details are chunky, strongly three-dimensional ... and by this we are referring to the crown with its fleur-de-lis and pearls, the legend New South Wales, the date 1813 and on the reverse, the value Fifteen Pence.
Henshall's claim to fame - the elusive 'H'
William Henshall declared his involvement in the creation of the Dump by inserting an 'H' into some (but not all) of the dies used during its striking. Its presence is highly prized. The ‘H’ for Henshall also is present between the 'FIFTEEN' and the 'PENCE' on the reverse.
The denticles around the edge of the coin are almost complete, a feature that is seldom seen in even the very best examples. A piece of art with out a picture frame is a blank canvas ... and the denticles act like a picture frame to the coin and give it substance.
Notice the oblique milling around the edge. It is fully evident. (The edge milling was used as deterrent against clipping whereby the unscrupulous shaved off slivers of silver, reducing the silver content of the Dump. And making a small profit on the side.)
Original Spanish Dollar design is evident
While the Holey Dollar clearly shows that it is one coin struck from another, in a less obvious way so too can the Dump. The design detail of the original Spanish Dollar from which this Dump was created is evident on the reverse. We refer to it as the under type and it is not always evident. Its presence re-affirms the origins of the Dump and is highly prized.
Governor Lachlan Macquarie enlisted the services of emancipated convict, William Henshall, to cut a hole in 40,000 Spanish Silver Dollars, creating two coins out of one.
The Dump, the small disc that fell out of the centre of the holed silver dollar, was then over stamped with the date 1813, a crown, New South Wales and the value of fifteen pence.
The buyer that pursues a top-quality Dump will find the task extremely challenging. It can be years before a premium quality example comes onto the market.
The Dump circulated widely in the colony, the extreme wear on most Dumps evidence that they saw considerable use. So, while the Dump may seem the diminutive partner of the Holey Dollar, the reality is "top quality" Dumps have authority.
So let's define the words "top quality" and establish the levels that are rarely seen.
Every circulated coin has a grading level at which serious rarity kicks in. That is the point at which the balance between acquiring a coin as a collectible - and as an investment - shifts more towards the latter.
For the 1813 Colonial Dump that point is Good Very Fine.
The chart below clearly shows that securing a Colonial Dump in a quality level of Good Very Fine or better is a difficult task.
We would sight a Good Very Fine Dump on the open market perhaps once or twice every year.