1813 Holey Dollar struck from a 1794, Potosi Mint, Spanish Silver Dollar.

1794 Holey Dollar Obv Mood August 2018
1794 Holey Dollar Rev Mood August 2018
1813 Holey Dollar struck from a 1794, Potosi Mint, Spanish Silver Dollar.
1813 Holey Dollar struck from a 1794, Potosi Mint, Spanish Silver Dollar.
Sold August 2018
Good Fine
Spink Australia Auction 14, November 1984
This Holey Dollar has the two words ‘POTOSI MINT’ in its description and those two words place it in a class all on its own. Holey Dollars that were created from silver dollars struck at the Potosi Mint in Bolivia are the RAREST of the rare. In 1988 Messrs. Mira and Noble catalogued and published a record of the known surviving Holey Dollars identifying those that were held by private collectors and those held in institutions. Only 15 privately owned coins had ties to the Potosi Mint. Next up for availability was the Lima Mint in Peru with 17 available; the Mexico Mint being the most frequently sighted with 143 recorded examples. We note that we have only ever handled four Potosi Mint Holey Dollars, and this coin is one of the four.
1794 Holey Dollar Rev Mood August 2018
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1794 Holey Dollar Obv Tech August 2018

1813 Holey Dollar struck from a Charles IIII, 1794 Spanish Silver Dollar.

1794 Holey Dollar Rev Tech August 2018

The PTS overlapping monogram to signify Potosi is said to have inspired the '$' insignia.


When William Henshall created this Holey Dollar, he picked up a 1794 Spanish Silver Dollar that had been struck at the Potosi Mint in Bolivia.

Had Henshall been a skilled numismatist, he would have noted that most of the 40,000 silver dollars imported by Macquarie had come from the Mexico Mint.

He would also have acknowledged that with the 'PTS' overlapping monogram between 'REX' and '8R' in the legend, the silver dollar he was about to deface had been issued by the Potosi Mint.

And that Potosi Mint silver dollars formed a minor part of the shipment of 40,000 coins.

Committed to the task, Henshall proceeded to cut and over stamp the 1794 Spanish Silver Dollar and in so doing created this 1813 Holey Dollar.

The chart below details the distribution of privately owned Holey Dollars by virtue of monarch and mint.

What is clear is the relative scarcity of Holey Dollars with ties to the Potosi Mint. Fifteen of the 176 privately held Holey Dollars (recorded in 1988) had ties to the Potosi Mint. (Blue section of chart)

  Mexico Lima Potosi Madrid Total
Portrait & legend Ferdinand VI 1       1
Portrait & legend Charles III 18 3 1   22
Portrait & legend Charles III (deceased) 1 1     2
Portrait Charles III, legend Charles IV 8       8
Portrait & legend of Charles IIII 103 12 14 1 130
Portrait & Legend Ferdinand VII 12       12
Imaginary portrait & legend Ferdinand VII   1     1
Total 143 17 15 1 176

A Holey Dollar can resemble a washer if it is well circulated. Or it can reach the heady quality heights of the record-breaking Madrid Holey Dollar.

Or it can be in a quality level somewhere in between. No matter the quality, the pleasure of ownership is immeasurable.

Feedback from our clients tells us that it is a very proud and exciting moment when you acquire an example of the nation’s very first coin.

Equally as exciting, opening up the leading reference ‘The Holey Dollars of New South Wales’ by Messrs Mira and Noble and finding your coin photographed and officially recorded as one of the almost 300 surviving examples.

You can have both with this coin. The thrill and pride of owning the nation’s very first coin.

And the pleasure of seeing it featured on page 29 as Holey Dollar 1794/9 in the major reference of surviving Holey Dollars. (A copy of the Catalogue accompanies the sale.)

The status of the Holey Dollar as Australia’s first coin ensures that it will never be forgotten and, as time passes, its historical value can only increase.

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PO Box 1060 Hawksburn Victoria Australia 3142

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