Holey Dollar and Dump 1813-2013 stamps from Australia

October 22nd, 2013

Australian Post issued a set of two stamps and a miniature sheet commemorating the 100th anniversary of the holey dollar and dump 1813.

In 1813 nearly 40,000 examples of the "holey dollar and dump" were minted in New South Wales to address a currency shortage in the new colony. The coins, derived from Spanish dollars, became the first to be circulated specifically in Australia.

On 26 November 1812, a special shipment of Spanish reale coins known as "pieces of eight" arrived in the colony from Madras aboard the Samarang. Governor Macquarie ordered that the centres be stamped out of the coins and counterstamped around the hole with a value of five shillings on the reverse and the words "NEW SOUTH WALES 1813" on the obverse. These were the "holey dollars". The centres ("dumps") of the coins were given a value of 15 pence, stamped on the reverse, and a crown and "NEW SOUTH WALES 1813" stamped on the obverse.

The coins could not be traded outside Australia.

The work was carried out by William Henshall, a pardoned convict originally transported for forgery. Henshall was chosen to cut and counter stamp the coins with the task taking over a year to complete. The first batch of new coins was delivered to Deputy Commissioner-General David Allen on 25 February 1814 and the final batch in August the same year.

The holey dollar and dump coins went into circulation in 1814, were replaced by sterling coinage from 1822 and ceased to be legal tender in 1829. Most holey dollars and dumps were melted down after they ceased to be legal tender in 1829.

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