N.S.W. Holey Dollar (Five Shillings)  1813


See the Holey Dollar Statistics and Early Australian Coinage articles for more information.
Beware of Holey Dollar forgeries and reproductions.

Of the 39,910 originally produced, it is estimated that approximately 350 Holey Dollars remain, many of which cannot be identified because details are obliterated. The following table lists 276 known Holey Dollars by their host Spanish 8 Reales (dollar) coin.

 
YearMonarchMintNo.
1757Ferdinand VIMexico City1
1773Carolus IIIMexico City1
1777Carolus IIIMexico City2
1778Carolus IIIMexico City1
1779Carolus IIIMexico City1
1780Carolus IIIMexico City1
1780Carolus IIILima, Peru1
1781Carolus IIIMexico City1
1782Carolus IIIMexico City1
1782Carolus IIILima, Peru2
1783Carolus IIIMexico City2
1783Carolus IIIPotosi, Bolivia1
1784Carolus IIIMexico City1
1785Carolus IIIMexico City3
1786Carolus IIIMexico City3
1786Carolus IIIPotosi, Bolivia1
1786Carolus IIILima, Peru1
1787Carolus IIIMexico City1
1787Carolus IIILima, Peru1
1788Carolus IIIMexico City5
1789Carolus IIIMexico City1
1789Carolus IVMexico City6
1790Carolus IVMexico City5
1791Carolus IIIIMexico City5
1792Carolus IIIIMexico City6
1792Carolus IIIIPotosi, Bolivia2
1793Carolus IIIIMexico City6
1793Carolus IIIISeville, Spain1
1793Carolus IIIILima, Peru1
1794Carolus IIIIMexico City10
1794Carolus IIIIPotosi, Bolivia2
1795Carolus IIIIMexico City3
1795Carolus IIIIPotosi, Bolivia1
1796Carolus IIIIMexico City3
1796Carolus IIIILima, Peru1
1796Carolus IIIIPotosi, Bolivia1
1797Carolus IIIIMexico City6
1797Carolus IIIILima, Peru1
1798Carolus IIIIMexico City12
1798Carolus IIIILima, Peru1
1798Carolus IIIISeville, Spain1
1799Carolus IIIIMexico City10
1799Carolus IIIIPotosi, Bolivia2
1799Carolus IIIIMadrid, Spain1
YearMonarchMintNo.
1800Carolus IIIIMexico City5
1800Carolus IIIILima, Peru1
1800Carolus IIIIPotosi, Bolivia1
1800Carolus IIIINueva, Guatemala1
1801Carolus IIIIMexico City2
1801Carolus IIIIPotosi, Bolivia2
1801Carolus IIIILima, Peru2
1802Carolus IIIIMexico City8
1802Carolus IIIIPotosi, Bolivia1
1802Carolus IIIIMadrid, Spain2
1803Carolus IIIIMexico City12
1803Carolus IIIIPotosi, Bolivia2
1803Carolus IIIILima, Peru3
1804Carolus IIIIMexico City15
1804Carolus IIIIPotosi, Bolivia2
1805Carolus IIIIMexico City23
1805Carolus IIIIPotosi, Bolivia2
1805Carolus IIIILima, Peru1
1805Carolus IIIIMadrid, Spain1
1806Carolus IIIIMexico City9
1806Carolus IIIIPotosi, Bolivia2
1806Carolus IIIILima, Peru4
1807Carolus IIIIMexico City9
1807Carolus IIIIPotosi, Bolivia1
1807Carolus IIIILima, Peru2
1808Carolus IIIIMexico City7
1808Carolus IIIIPotosi, Bolivia3
1808Carolus IIIILima, Peru5
1808Ferdinand VIIIMexico City1
1809Ferdinand VIIMexico City16
1810Ferdinand VIIMexico City1
1810Ferdinand VIILima, Peru2

NDV: No Date Visible
NDVVariousMexico City7
NDVCarolus IIIILima, Peru1
NDVCarolus IIIINo Mintmark Visible1

Counterfeits
Die Struck: Various Dates, Mints & Monarchs9
Cast : Various Dates, Mints & Monarchs6
Hong Kong : Forgeries
Manila : Forgeries
Reproductions: Becker, California


Notes:

The valuation of a Holey Dollar is a complex task because of the variety of factors which combine to make each piece unique. Factors which must be taken into consideration include:
  • The condition of the obverse and reverse matrix (the original or host coin);
  • The condition of the obverse and reverse counterstamps;
  • The amount of buckling (or curvature) imparted on the piece by the method of production;
  • The number of other known pieces with similar matrix (host) coin features -
    • Year (date),
    • Spanish Ruler
    • Mintmark, and/or
    • Assayer's mark;
  • The number of other known pieces with similar counterstamp die combinations;
  • The positioning and rotation of the counterstamp dies;
  • Prevailing market conditions and the number of pieces available for purchase.
Over one third of surviving specimens are housed in institutional collections. It is extremely rare for these pieces to reach the marketplace. The following table is indicative only, of holey dollar valuations.

Indicative Valuation :
N.S.W. Holey Dollar (Five Shillings) - 1813 - Spanish 8 Reales Host

Very
Good
FineVery
Fine
Extra
Fine
200225,00045,00075,000100,000

A simple coding system has been developed to record the positioning of the counterstamps. The positions of the N of NEW SOUTH WALES and the F of FIVE SHILLINGS are shown as numbers corresponding to locations on a clockface when the matrix (the original coin) is held upright. The first mentioned is the counterstamp on the obverse of the matrix, the second is that on the reverse.

The rarity of the Holey dollar ensures that whenever a new specimen is discovered, even if it is in relatively poor condition, it can be extremely valuable. The following are stories of the discovery of some holey dollars:

The Most Famous of Them All: In 1881, a bushranger's hoard was found in Tasmania and brought to the then governor of the State, J. H. Lefroy. He kept some of the more interesting specimens in the collection, and today one of those coins is the most valuable Holey Dollar known. This specimen is of the particular type known as the Hannibal Head. The eight reale coin from which it was struck was made in Lima, Peru, during the reign of Ferdinand the seventh. The sculptor did not know what the king looked like, so he took a guess as to the reigning monarch's likeness. King Ferdinand could not have been very popular, because the portrait the sculptor produced was less than flattering.

Rare Tap Washer: In around 1970, a doctor by the name of Warren Smith was treating a patient in a country town in New South Wales. When he had finished, he went to the tank stand to wash his hands. While he was busy rinsing off he happened to glance at the rather unusual tap washer. Being a coin collector, he instantly recognised it as a Holey Dollar. He bought the coin from his patient, and later sold it at auction.

Gardener's Bonanza: Another of these valuable coins was discovered in 1979 when a householder and his son were doing some routine gardening. The boy was given the job of raking the gravel driveway, and as he did the chore he raked up a fortune - a Holey Dollar worth $15,000. His father rewarded him with the object of his heart's desire - a BMX bicycle.

Washday Wonder: Because of their shape - with a hole in the middle - Holey Dollars have been used in many different ways. One was once used as a washer on a clothes hoist. One coin expert remarked that every rotation of the hoist probably rubbed about a thousand dollars off the value of the coin. But worn as it was, its rarity still made it a comparatively valuable piece.

Strange But True: A Holey Dollar has been found as recently as 1985, washed up on a river bank south of Sydney. It was found along with an eight reale coin. This particular Holey Dollar was worth in excess of $10,000.

Holey dollars have been found in a ploughed field, in a fire gutted home in Liverpool, New South Wales, and around the neck of a Malaysian fisherman, who was wearing it as a keepsake. All these coins are now worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Sources:
The Holey Dollar and Dump Collection Book issued by the Perth Mint - 1990.
'The Holey Dollars of N.S.W. - W J D Mira & W J Noble, 1988.
Note: Dr Mira has advised that the number of known surviving Holey Dollars was 296 as at August, 1999.


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