1813 Holey Dollar

1813 Holey Dollar
1813 Holey Dollar
1813 Holey Dollar
$ 95,000
Sold September 2015
Good Fine / about Very Fine
Philip Spalding
We have had our sights set on this Holey Dollar for years for it is a unique type of Mexico Mint Holey Dollar. This Holey Dollar was struck from a silver dollar dated 1789 and depicts the portrait of the deceased monarch King Charles III, who died one year earlier, in December 1788. It also features the legend of the deceased monarch. Of the surviving Holey Dollars, only two were struck from silver dollars that feature the legend and portrait of the deceased King Charles III. This particular piece has ties to the Mexico Mint. The other Holey Dollar has ties to the Lima Mint making each a unique type and thus very sought after.
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This particular Holey Dollar was photographed and detailed in Spalding’s book ‘The World of the Holey Dollar’. It was highly regarded by Spalding to the extent that it was featured in his book, in the chapter titled ‘The Top Dollars’, page 209.

It also is photographed and referenced as 1789/1 in the Mira Noble book ‘The Holey Dollars of New South Wales’ published in 1988.

The Spanish King Charles III died in December 1788. The normal protocols would see the removal of the monarch’s portrait from his coinage, and its replacement with the effigy of the new king.

But the news of the death of Charles III did not reach the Spanish colonies until March 1789.

The colonial mints unknowingly continued to produce coinage with the legend and portrait of the deceased king oblivious to the death of their monarch.

This Holey Dollar was created from one such silver dollar.

Philip Spalding was passionate about Australia’s first coin, the 1813 Holey Dollar. And he owned many examples.

His passion however extended far beyond ownership. He authored what is still to this day regarded as the ultimate reference on the history of Australia’s Holey Dollar. Published in 1973, ‘The World of the Holey Dollar’ is viewed as his greatest legacy.

His contributions to the industry, and the nation, was further evidenced with a donation to the State Library of New South Wales of one of the finest pieces from his collection. The coin was the very famous Charles IIII Seville Mint Holey Dollar. It is one of only two Holey Dollars that has ties to the mint in Seville, Spain.

The narrative of the 1813 Holey Dollar, is as much about the Spanish Empire, as it is about Governor Macquarie’s attempt to introduce Australia’s first circulating coinage. It is a story that takes us on a journey through time and across continents.  

The Holey Dollar, and let’s not forget its partner the Dump, are Australia’s first coins. Both were created in 1813 and involved a two part minting process. The first part of the process occurred when convicted forger William Henshall cut a hole in the centre of 40,000 Spanish Dollars, imported by Governor Lachlan Macquarie.

In so doing Henshall created two pieces of silver out of each single dollar: the first piece having a donut configuration and the second the inner circular disc that was punched out of the centre of the donut.

The second phase of the minting process required Henshall to officially over-stamp the two pieces of silver with the date, 1813, the value and the issuing authority of New South Wales.

This was the point at which the two pieces of the mutilated silver dollar were converted into the Holey Dollar and Dump and became Australia’s very first coins.

Macquarie wasn’t fussy about his shipment of 40,000 Spanish silver dollars. No protocols were set down for their quality or their dates. Nor did he care whether they were minted in Spain or the Spanish colonies of Mexico, Peru or Bolivia.

The silver dollars imported by Macquarie, and ultimately the Holey Dollars that were created from them, chart the course of the Spanish monarchs commencing with Ferdinand VI, Charles III, Charles IIII, Ferdinand VII including the tumultuous period when Ferdinand VII exited the throne in 1808 to be replaced by Joseph Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte.


PO Box 1060 Hawksburn Victoria Australia 3142

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