Australia New South Wales
Holey Dollar, 1813 - Five Shillings
Host coin mint and date: Mexico. 1809 (?)

In 1813 Governor Lachlan Macquarie overcame an acute shortage of currency by arranging for the purchase of Spanish silver dollars, having the centres punched out and therein creating two new coins - the 'Holey Dollar' (valued at five shillings) and the 'Dump' (valued at one shilling and three pence). This doubled the number of coins in circulation and increased their total worth by 25 per cent. The work was carried out by William Hanshall, a convict transported for forgery.

Physical Description

A very worn ring shaped silver coin (38 * 40 mm diameter) manufactured by cutting a circular 'dump' from the centre of a Mexico mint 8 real piece probably of 1809 and counterstamping the words NEW SOUTH WALES 1813 around the central hole on one side (the obverse). Originally the words FIVE SHILLINGS and a spray of leaves with the engraver's initial H at the centre was counterstruck around the hole on the other side but the coin is a worn and the entire reverse counterstamp is lost.

Obverse Description

Overstruck around a circular hole cut from a Mexico Mint 8 Real coin, NEW SOUTH WALES 1813. The host coin is very worn but the top of the bust of Ferdinand VII can be made out.

Reverse Description

The reverse is very worn, with no remnant of the counterstamp. Of the original coin the lettering around the rim, M 8 R..HISPAN . ET IND. REX can be read.

Edge Description


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