is the name given to coins
used in the early history of two British
settlements: Prince Edward Island
and New South Wales
. The middle was punched out of Spanish dollars
, creating two parts: a small coin, known as a "dump" in Australia, and a "holey dollar".
Prince Edward Island
From 1497, the Spanish
government minted a large silver
coin which through wide circulation became known as the Spanish dollar
. Around the end of the 18th century, this coin was in constant circulation in Eastern Canada
and the United States
. The value of the coin varied in different centers but was highest in Halifax
. Using this knowledge, whenever the merchants of Prince Edward Island (PEI) secured them, they sent them to Halifax, to take advantage of the higher rate. The resulting shortage of money in PEI prompted the governor
to gather in all the Spanish Dollars he could and have their centers punched out. Both the central plug and rims were stamped with a sunburst. The punched centers passed as shillings
and the outer rims as five-shilling pieces. The mutilated coins were thereafter no longer acceptable outside of the island, so as a consequence, became the official currency there.
When the colony of New South Wales
was founded in Australia
in 1788, it ran into the problem of a lack of coinage. Governor Lachlan Macquarie
took the initiative of using £10
,000 in Spanish dollars
sent by the British
government to produce suitable coins in a similar manner to that described above. These coins to the value of 40,000 Spanish dollars came on the 26 November 1812 on the merchant ship
, via the Honourable East India Company
. To stop them from leaving the colony they were centred for two different issues of coins (Pitt 2000).
There was a central plugs (known as dumps) which were valued at 15 pence and were restruck with a new design (a crown on the obverse, the denomination on the reverse), whilst the dollars received an overstamp around the hole ("New South Wales 1813" on the obverse, "Five Shillings" on the reverse). The holey dollar became the first official currency produced specifically for circulation in Australia.
From 1822 these coins began to be recalled and replaced by sufficient sterling coinage (Pitt 2000). There are estimated to be 350 Holey dollars and 1500 dumps remaining in circulation today (Mira and Noble 1989, as cited in Pitt 2000 p. 9).
Macquarie Bank uses the holey dollar as their logo to represent ingenuity and financial knowledge.
Although not known as "holey dollars", several British colonies in the Caribbean
used the same method for producing coins from Spanish dollars. They include British Guiana
, Saint Vincent
. The holed coins and plugs circulated alongside various other coins made by cutting Spanish and Spanish colonial coins into sections. These coinages were denominated in either shillings and pence or bits
, worth nine pence.
See Dominican dollar, Grenadan dollar and Saint Vincent dollar.
Hutt River Province Principality
The Hutt River Province Principality issued a commemorative $1 coin in 1977 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee. In 1978, another issue of the Hutt River Province Principality's $1 coins was issued. This has no commemorative inscription. These coins are also known to numismatists as holey dollars as well.
- (2000). Renniks Australian Coin and Banknote Values. 19th ed., Chippendale, N.S.W.: Renniks Publications. ISBN 0-9585574-4-6.