The first step in the task of acquiring a Holey Dollar is to set your budget.
Holey Dollars are available in price ranges to suit all budgets, starting at $50,000 for a heavily circulated example up to the very best examples at $400,000-plus.
Quality is the prime force in determining the value of a Holey Dollar, but it is not the only force in setting a value. And herein lies the intrigue of the coin.
Lachlan Macquarie imported 40,000 Spanish Silver dollars to create Australia’s first coins. The order was not date specific, so any date would do. Any monarch would suffice, Charles III, Charles IV, Ferdinand VI or Ferdinand VII.
Nor did Macquarie purchase the coins direct from a particular mint. The shipment came from Madras, ordered from the East India Company, and was comprised of coins struck in the Spanish colonies of Mexico, Peru and Bolivia with some even sourced from the motherland, Spain.
And they all came at different quality levels, with the majority well worn.
The rarity of the monarch and the rarity of the mint together with its quality are the three attributes that determine the ultimate value of a Holey Dollar.
The Holey Dollar is one of Australia's most desirable coins. Talk to those fortunate enough to own one, either private collectors or institutions such as Macquarie Bank, National Museum of Australia and the Mitchell Library, and they will tell you that the Holey Dollar is viewed as the jewel in their collection.
Of the 200 Holey Dollars that are available to collectors, the chart below indicates the percentage of Holey Dollars found at each quality level.
It is noted that most Holey Dollars are today found well-worn with many looking like a tap washer.
The reason is simply that no quality parameters were set on Macquarie’s shipment of 40,000 silver dollars. That and the extensive use of the dollar as an international trading coin meant that most of the coins imported by Macquarie were well worn.