The Royal Australian Mint is celebrating the 200th anniversary of Australia’s first coins, the Holey Dollar and Dump. The design of the original is reproduced on the reverse of a new $1 coin, first issued on New Year’s Day.
The original Holey Dollar and Dump were created as a solution to the shortage of coinage in the colony in the early 1800’s. Governor Macquarie authorized the issue of the colony’s own currency by punching the centers out of 40,000 Spanish Dollars. The pieces were then counterstamped with the outer ring having a value of five shillings and the center having a value of 15 pence. More information on the Holey Dollar and Dump can be found here, along with images of one of the rare survivors.
The 2013 Bicentenary of the Holey Dollar and Dump $1 Coin features a reproduction of the original designs on the reverse. The obverse contains the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II along with the current year date of “2013” and the face value of “1 Dollar”.
As they have done in previous years, the Royal Australian Mint provided collectors with a special opportunity to strike the first Australian $1 coins of the year. Collectors are known to line up overnight to be part of the fist 100 to strike an Australian coin in the new year.
For 2013, a 13-year-old collector was reported to have camped outside the Mint for four days in order to strike the first coin. He has turned down an offer of $800 to sell the coin to another collector. The next 99 visitors to make a coin also took home a special prize and certificate.
With the Holey Dollar and Dump holding such an important place in Australian numismatic history, they have also been commemorated on other coins. Last week, the Perth Mint of Australia released a silver two coin set to mark the 200th anniversary. I have just received my set this morning. The coins are shown above.
Over the years, there have also been a number of other commemorative Holey Dollar & Dump silver coins issued by both the Perth Mint and Royal Australian Mint. It seems that many were issued for the occasion of the 175th anniversary in 1988. A subscription coin reproducing the original design was offered in 2003. You can see the range of previous offerings in these eBay listings.