News & Views

Over the last thirty years two great Australian coin rarities have taken on a legendary, almost mythical standing. They have been the subject of much intrigue and animated discussion.

1813 NSW Dump A1 Unc reverse Large SEO March 2018

The coins are an 1813 Holey Dollar struck on a very rare, high quality Ferdinand VII 1809 Silver Dollar.

And an even rarer, about Uncirculated 1813 New South Wales Dump.

Both coins were offered at the now famous March 1988 Spink ‘Bicentenary’ Auction and featured as cover items on the Catalogue.

Their fortune was sealed however when they were selected as feature coins in the Mira Noble Book, ‘The Holey Dollars of New South Wales’.

Published in 1988, this book is to this day, the only reference that catalogues and photographs the known surviving Holey Dollars.

It is the industry’s most well used resource and is utilised worldwide.   

The Ferdinand Holey Dollar appeared on the front cover as the sole item. (Given that Messrs Mira and Noble photographed more than 230 coins for their catalogue, this is indeed a telling point.)

The Dump appeared on page 90 as the showpiece example of the design type A/1 Dump, the finest known.

Following their appearance in 1988, both coins simply vanished and have never been sighted since.

Over the last three decades talk has centred around the possibility that they may have been lost or destroyed and gone forever, a major blow for the industry had this been the case.

The rumours swirling around these two coins can now be put to rest. They are available now and prime for the buyer seeking a glorious 1813 Holey Dollar and simply the best 1813 Dump. 

1813 Holey Dollar EF on 1809 March 2018

1813 Holey Dollar struck on an 1809 Ferdinand VII Mexico Mint Silver Dollar, Extremely Fine. Price $465,000.

If William Henshall had conducted a detailed inventory of the 40,000 Spanish Silver Dollars acquired by Lachlan Macquarie, he would have realised that those struck with the legend and portrait of Ferdinand VII were extremely rare.

And if he was familiar with world events he would have known that Ferdinand VII abdicated the throne in favour of Napoleon Boneparte’s brother Joseph in 1808. The appearance of Ferdinand VII on a Spanish Silver Dollar dated 1809 was an anomaly that might one day pay dividends.

Henshall might therefore have considered setting this Holey Dollar aside for his own retirement fund.

1813 Holey Dollar EF on 1809 OBV March 2018

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. It is noted that 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.

A superb high quality Holey Dollar we note that it was formerly owned by Sir Marcus Clark OBE and sold at auction in 1954 for £72 10/-.

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1813 Dump aUNC rev March 2018

1813 New South Wales Dump, About Uncirculated. Price $175,000.

Of the 800 Colonial Dumps that are available to collectors, only two have a quality ranking of about Uncirculated. One was struck using the D/2 dies. The second is this coin, struck from the A/1 dies and they are the finest available.

Perhaps the most telling aspect of the very best Colonial Dumps is the presence of the cross on the orb at the top of the Crown. The D/2 example had it. And so too does this coin.

We often refer to the cross on the orb at the top of the Crown in the Adelaide Pound. In Dumps it is unheard of.

The border denticles are complete, a feature that is seldom if ever seen. Henshall was not known for the precision of his work. Simply for the volume in creating 39,910 Holey Dollars and 39,910 Dumps. 

1813 Dump aUNC obv March 2018

The fleur de lis on the left-hand and the right-hand side of the crown and the pearls are plump and have full definition. The legend New South Wales and the date 1813 are crisp.

The reverse Fifteen Pence is strong and three dimensional. So too the ‘H’ for Henshall. And it is shaped. William Henshall declared his involvement in the creation of the Dump by inserting an ‘H’ into some (but not all) of the dies used during its striking. Its presence is highly prized.

While the Holey Dollar glaringly shows that it is one coin struck from another, in a less obvious way so too does the Dump. There is strong detail in the coin surrounding the word ‘Fifteen Pence’. In fact, you can clearly see the castle. That’s the design from the center of the original Spanish Dollar from which this Dump was created.

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