1808 AND UNIQUE
The history associated with this Holey Dollar is momentous.
The coin is unique and is the only example of a Holey Dollar to bear the date 1808 and the portrait and legend of Ferdinand VII.
Spain was in turmoil in 1808. On 19 March 1808 Charles IIII of Spain abdicated the throne for his son, Ferdinand VII. He reigned for only two months and on 6 May 1808, was tricked into exile by Napoleon Bonaparte, who proclaimed his brother Joseph Bonaparte as King of Spain.
On 12 August 1808, the Mexico Mint received the new dies bearing the legend and portrait of Ferdinand VII.
Refusing to acknowledge Bonaparte as King of Spain they commenced production of silver dollars featuring Ferdinand’s portrait and legend. Because the mint received the dies in the latter part of 1808, very few silver dollars were struck depicting Ferdinand VII.
Whilst today people take to the streets to demonstrate their political views, the Mexico Mint made its own (not so quiet) stand by retaining Ferdinand VII’s legend and portrait on the Spanish coinage even though Joseph Bonaparte had been proclaimed King of Spain in 1808. This coin is a reminder of the social and political messages conveyed by currency.
THE RAREST OF THE RARE
There are approximately two hundred Holey Dollars held in private hands, each of which can be characterised into ‘types’ based on the monarch and the mint of the original silver dollar.
This Holey Dollar depicts the portrait and legend of Ferdinand VII. And the mintmark of the Mexico Mint. These three traits (the portrait of Ferdinand VII, the legend of Ferdinand VII and the mint) combine to make it one of the rarest of all types.
- The portrait and legend of Ferdinand VII appears on only 7 per cent of known Holey Dollars, the very reason why we say that while all Holey Dollars are rare, Ferdinand VII Holey Dollars are the rarest of the rare.
- By comparison the portrait and legend of Charles III (Ferdinand VII’s grandfather) appears on 14 per cent of known Holey Dollars
- And the portrait and legend of Charles IIII, (Ferdinand’s father) appears on 74 per cent of known Holey Dollars making it the most readily available type.
GLORIOUS QUALITY WITH LUSTRE
The original Spanish silver dollar from which this Holey Dollar was created is uniformly toned a beautiful gun metal blue grey. The surfaces are reflective and glossy. Look closely and you see that the coin has original golden lustre in the legend and the date 1808.
The original coin is graded Good Extremely Fine, making it one of the finest of the 300 known Holey Dollars, comparable quality-wise to the Madrid Holey Dollar which sold last year for a world record price of $550,000.
To our knowledge this is the finest Ferdinand VII Holey Dollar available to private collectors. It is beyond doubt the finest Ferdinand VII Holey Dollar that we have handled.
UNCIRCULATED COUNTER STAMPS
The counter stamps of this Holey Dollar are highlighted by original golden lustre and beautiful toning. They are Uncirculated, as struck, and fully detailed as to the impression of the inner denticles, lettering Five Shillings and New South Wales, date 1813, fleur de lis, double twig of leaves and tiny H. The pristine state of the counter stamps is remarkable.
That after delivering this coin to the Deputy Commissary General’s Office in January 1814 along with 39,909 other Holey Dollars, it was never used. And that after the Holey Dollar was officially demonitised in 1829 it survived the recall, and the eventual melting pot, is simply miraculous.
This coin has an impeccable provenance. In terms of Holey Dollars the name Spalding is in my view the ultimate. This Holey Dollar was owned by A.H. Baldwin then sold in 1968 to Phillip Spalding.