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.
No other coin has had so many books written about it. No other coin has been so highly exhibited. The Proof 1930 Penny is quite possibly the only other coin that attracts as much media interest.
The Holey Dollar is a coin that is held in the utmost respect. It is history. And yet it is refreshingly current. The ingenuity of Governor Lachlan Macquarie in creating our first coin is reflected in the naming of the Macquarie Bank and the bank’s ultimate adoption of the Holey Dollar as it logo.
Talk to those fortunate owners, either private collectors or institutions such as Macquarie Bank, National Museum of Australia and the Mitchell Library, and you quickly realise that the Holey Dollar is viewed as the jewel in their collection.
And there is a reason. It is our first coin. It is steeped in history and is today extremely rare.
When William Henshall created this coin he picked an 1803 Spanish Silver Dollar that had been struck at the Mexico Mint. Using crude equipment, he cut a hole in it. He then continued the minting process by over-stamping the inner circular edge of the hole with the words New South Wales, the date 1813 and the value of five shillings.
In so doing he created history by becoming Australia’s first mint master and created one of Australia’s greatest coin rarities, the 1813 Holey Dollar.