News & Views


This exhibition is the most important and valuable display of Australia’s first minted coins ever staged. The venue is the Royal Australian Mint Canberra, the event organised in partnership with Melbourne rare coin company, Coinworks.


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ROYAL AUSTRALIAN MINT CANBERRA, 
DENISON STREET, DEAKIN ACT.

16 August – 3 November.

Mon – Friday 8.30 – 5pm.

Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays 10am – 4pm.

Free entry.

The Holey Dollar is a story. And this Exhibition will narrate the story of the Holey Dollar in its entirety by way of eleven different coins.

Every Holey Dollar began its life as a Spanish Silver Dollar. 

Those silver dollars might have depicted the portrait of Ferdinand VI, Charles III, Charles IV or Ferdinand VII. They might have been minted in Spain. Or one of the Spanish Colonial Mints of South America.

And it is these subtle differences, the mint and the monarch – and of course the quality - that characterises each individual Holey Dollar and leads us to say that while all Holey Dollars are rare. Some are far rarer than others.

We have brought out the big guns in this Exhibition displaying three pieces that are unique, with no representations in museums or public institutions anywhere in the world. 

The Ferdinand VI Holey Dollar. The famous Hannibal Head Holey Dollar struck on a Ferdinand VII Lima Mint silver dollar. And the Charles III Holey Dollar struck on a 1789 silver dollar. Did we say Charles III? Because Charles III died in 1788. Which leads us to say that errors or quirks have been happening in numismatics for centuries.

We have included the Madrid Holey Dollar which is unique in private hands and is Australia’s most valuable Holey Dollar.

A Holey Dollar that was formerly owned by convict William Long, struck on a Spanish Silver Dollar dated 1791. The fabulous Ferdinand VII Holey Dollar that was thought lost and re-surfaced in 2018, sequestered for 30 years in a Sydney collection.  

The famous Montague Holey Dollar. Struck from a silver dollar that was minted in 1788, the year Australia was colonised. With the counter stamps beautifully aligned it is the picture-perfect Holey Dollar. Could Governor Lachlan Macquarie have instructed William Henshall to create a Holey Dollar presentation piece in this coin? We will never know.

Dr John Chapman’s Holey Dollar is the finest Potosi Mint Holey Dollar. And we have partnered this coin with the finest Lima Mint Holey Dollar. And one of the absolute finest México Mint Holey Dollars. Its surfaces are proof-like. 

And if you are counting the above … yes there is one more.

A Holey Dollar struck with the portrait of the deceased monarch Charles III but featuring the legend of Charles IV. Again, a numismatic quirk and of the highest rarity.

The exhibition will also document the narrative of the Dump.

Despite its diminutive size, the Dump is an integral part of Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s story and has its own narrative to tell. Eleven of the finest quality Dumps will be exhibited covering the four design types of A/1, D/2, C/4 and E/3.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to savour the best of the best of the nation’s very first coins.

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