News & Views

Rules of Investment put into practice.

Exhibited:  ANZ Dollars & Dumps Exhibition Melbourne 2007, Eminent Colonials Exhibition Melbourne 2012, Macquarie Group Exhibition Sydney 2013

Provenance:  Jacques Schulman Sale, Amsterdam 1930, Gibbs Collection H M F Schulman Sale, New York, 1960, Ray Jewell Collection, Spink Australia 1981, Spink Australia Auction March 1988, Noble Numismatics March 1995, Private Collector Sydney

Expressions of Interest, closing date 30 April 2015, unless sold prior

Estimate $600,000 to $650,000


In a recent article published on the Coinworks website, we shared our knowledge and experience about successfully investing in the rare coin industry. The article prescribed a set of investing rules that have shown to net significant returns over time.

This latest article takes those very same investing rules and applies them in practice to the Madrid Holey Dollar.


“Market values of rare coins are driven by supply and demand. Fashions and trends come and go, so Coinworks advises clients to stick to mainstream product, which, as a general rule, generates demand by appealing to a broader buying base.”

The Holey Dollar is as mainstream as it gets. Its status as Australia’s first coin ensures that it will never be forgotten and, as time passes, its historical value can only increase. It is beyond any industry fashions or trends that come and go.

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.

Celebrated, exalted. But at the same time the Holey Dollar is not elitist.

Holey Dollars are today found in varying ranges of quality (and prices) thereby appealing to a wide buying audience. Well circulated Holey Dollars can still be picked up for $40,000 to $60,000. And while the design may be sparsely evident it is still a prized possession.


“Quality, rarity and provenance cannot be over-emphasised when investing in rare coins. All three combined drive up values over time and ensure a piece stands out from the rest.”

Rare coins don’t come much more discerning than the Madrid Holey Dollar. It’s the holy of holies – ascribed in 1988 by Spink Auction as “Australia’s most desirable Holey Dollar”.

The Madrid Holey Dollar will suit an investor who demands to own a unique piece of Australian history for it is the only privately held Holey Dollar to be struck from a Silver Dollar that was minted in Spain.

A quick history lesson explains this point. Australia’s first coin, the Holey Dollar was struck from a Silver Dollar that had been produced in the Spanish Mints of Seville and Madrid. And in the Spanish colonies of Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala, Chile and Colombia. While 39,910 Holey Dollars were released into circulation, about 300 survive today. Of those Holey Dollars, held privately and in institutions, only six have ties to the mints in Spain. They are considered so important that five out of the six are held in institutions.

The remaining coin, this one, will be sold to one visionary investor.

While attention is directed towards the unique status of the Madrid Holey Dollar, its supreme quality should never be overlooked. And is simply the icing on the cake for the future purchaser.

The Madrid Holey Dollar is right up there for quality. At good Extremely Fine, it is one of the finest of the 300 known Holey Dollars, ranked number two or three for quality (out of the 300).

With an impeccable and well documented provenance, the Madrid Holey Dollar will suit an investor who relishes a rare opportunity at taking his or her best shot at buying the very best: the ultimate combination of extreme rarity and premium quality that only this Holey Dollar provides.

Provenance: Jacques Schulman Sale, Amsterdam 1930,  Gibbs Collection H M F Schulman Sale, New York, 1960, Ray Jewell Collection, Spink Australia 1981, Spink Australia Auction March 1988, Noble Numismatics March 1995, Private Collector Sydney


“Coinworks not only examines the inherent traits of a product under consideration, we also run the ruler over the product’s market. Minimise the competition, but don’t eliminate it altogether.”

The price potential of a particular coin will always be affected by the frequency of appearances, and the price performance, of other coins in the sector to which it belongs. It is the same in real estate, as it is in the art world.

But while a little bit of competition is a good thing, too much competition will ultimately inhibit a coin’s price potential, or may undermine its price structure should a number of examples come out into the market place within a short space of time.

The Madrid Holey Dollar is ideally positioned in this scenario. It is unique in private hands. (As a point of comparison we note that there are at least 147 options for buyers looking to acquire Holey Dollars created from Mexico Mint Silver Dollars, of varying qualities. See table below.)

The table below also reveals that there is but one other Holey Dollar that presents the ultimate in rarity. The Ferdinand VI Mexico Mint Holey Dollar.

While we acknowledge the rarity and significance of the Ferdinand VI Holey Dollar, it has to be said that the coin is well circulated.

1757 Holey Dollar

The Ferdinand VI Holey Dollar was displayed at the Macquarie Exhibition in Sydney in 2013 and it is on public record that the coin was valued and insured for $400,000. It was acquired by a Melbourne collector in 1999 where it currently resides.

Legend Mexico Mint Lima Mint Potosi Mint Madrid Mint Total
Ferdinand VI  1        1
Charles III  19  4  1    24
Charles IIII  115  16  14  1  146
Ferdinand VII  12  1      13
Total 147 21 15 1 184
Classification by Monarch and Mint of known surviving Holey Dollars held in private hands

For the buyer that is looking to acquire one of the very best quality Holey Dollars, the options are again extremely limited. The availability, and appearances of these coins create a sense of competition. But on a very limited scale.

The finest known Mexico Mint Holey Dollar was sold by Coinworks in 2014 for $455,000 in a private treaty sale. The quality of the coin was Uncirculated. Given the profile of the buyer we suggest that it will be kept for at least one, if not two, decades.

Coinworks again sold the finest known Lima Mint Holey Dollar in 2013 for $495,000. The quality was on a par with the Madrid Holey Dollar at good Extremely Fine. The intention of the buyer was that it would be held for a minimum of a decade.

The sale of these two top quality Holey Dollars simply sets the price precedent for the Madrid Holey Dollar.

Holey Dollar


“Knowledge of products and markets is embedded in the Coinworks doctrine. It matches quality products with fair prices, building in room for capital gains over time.”

In assessing the value of the Madrid Holey Dollar Coinworks looked at recent sales and current market values. We also drew on historical research.

While mention has been made of some of Coinworks recent Holey Dollar sales throughout this article, the coins have been illustrated as a further point of reference.

We are satisfied that the estimate of $600,000 - $650,000 reflects its current worth. In drawing on historical research we went back to the famous Bicentennial Auction held in March 1988 by Spink Auctions in which ten Holey Dollars were offered for sale.

We examined the relative price movements of four of the nation’s top Holey Dollars from 1988 to date. The price relationship of the four coins has been remarkably maintained reflecting an impressive strength in the market at the top end.  

  Sold 1988 Value Today Price Ratio
1757 Ferdinand VI Mexico Mint Holey Dollar  $38,000  $400,000  10.53
1792 Charles IIII Potosi Mint Holey Dollar  $26,000  $275,000  10.38
1802 Charles IIII Madrid Mint Holey Dollar  $58,000  $600,000  10.34
1810 Ferdinand VII Lima Mint Holey Dollar  $39,000 $410,000  10.51

Relative price movements of four top Holey Dollars from 1988 to date

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