Holey Dollar Rum and the Dump history

Holey Dollar and Dump History

Surviving Examples
Holey Dollars: Fewer than 300 Known
Dumps: Approximately 1,000 Remain

History of the Holey Dollar

When Lachlan Macquarie became Governor of New South Wales in 1810 the colony was almost broke and suffering from a major shortage of small denomination coinage for daily transactions. Many available coins were still being shipped offshore by traders and the illegal rum trade dominated commerce. (The NSW 'Rum Corps' originally introduced rum as the most common form of currency after 1793, but this all changed after the Rum Rebellion of 1808).
Governor Macquarie’s solution to the currency shortage was to import 40,000 Spanish silver dollars (eight reales) in 1812. To prevent them from being promptly traded back out of the colony, he is believed to have employed recently emancipated English-born convict plater, cutler and sometimes forger William Henshall, to make them unappealing to traders by punching the centres out of each coin, giving both parts inflated values over and above the intrinsic value of the silver. This method of defacing coins was already in use in various other countries at the time. The Colonial pierced dollar, outer ring or "Holey Dollar” as it became well known, was valued at five shillings and the inner plug, known as the "Dump” was worth fifteen pence. The Holey Dollar and Dump were demonetised in 1929 when the Sterling standard was re-imposed. Holey Dollars and Dumps were shipped to London to be melted down and sold off as bullion silver, or clipped or given as souvenirs to dignitaries.

Sydney Production Site
Henshall was provided with a workshop in the basement of a government building called the ‘Factory’ (long since demolished) to produce the Holey Dollars and Dumps. It was located near the corner of Bridge and Loftus Streets by the eastern bank of the Tank Stream in Sydney. This became Australia’s first mint.

Production and Design
The Holey Dollar was not filed down but simply over-stamped around the inner rim. One side bore the words "New South Wales and the date "1813” while the other displayed a spray of leaves and the wording "Five Shillings”. A number of dies were produced and the initial "H” for Henshall appeared on several of them.
Being created from another coin has meant that not one, but two coins are involved in the assessment process, which makes valuing the Holey Dollar a more defined and interesting process. Details about the original Spanish host coins such as where they were minted, the extent of their circulation and which monarch’s portrait appeared, are all considered.
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