Farmer’s $95 coin find now worth $100,000

holey dollar

November 12, 2015

A rare holey dollar unearthed by a farmer ploughing a paddock in 1961,which he promptly sold for forty-seven-pounds ten shillings, ($95), is about to be sold for $100,000.

The coin, which goes under the hammer at a Sydney auction next week, was found when the farmer spotted something shiny in his tilled soil. He wrote to the Secretary of the Australian Numismatic Society, Tom Hanley, describing his discovery.   Hanley wrote back offering to buy it and the offer of £47.10 was accepted.

Holey Dollars were created by punching a hole in the common Spanish dollar (piece of eight) on the orders of Governor Macquarie to provide currency for the early NSW colony.

In 1961, no one could have predicted that these old colonial coins would become among the most sought-after coins for Australian collectors.

Another highlight of the auction is a half-penny, being sold by the granddaughter of a Swede who jumped ship in Sydney and went north to work in the Queensland cane fields in the 1920s.

The coin is the finest known of its type, with hardly any wear, but four “X” characters have been marked across the face, reducing its value from $100,000 to $5,000.

Coincidentally, in early 1924 Castlemaine Brewers launched their now iconic Queensland beer brand,  XXXX. As no 1924 dated coins would have been issued at the time, it’s possible that this 1923-issued coin, otherwise virtually uncirculated, might have been presented as part to the event.

1923 is a scarce year of issue of the Australian half-penny and extremely rare in this condition.

Other notable auction items are:

  • one of the finest known examples of Australia’s first gold coin design, an 1852 Adelaide Pound, issued in the colony of South Australia. (lot 1089 estimate $120,000)
  • rare gold sovereign coins from the 1550s in the reigns of Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I. (lots 1534 and 1535 estimates $30,000 and $50,000)
  • a rare presentation consecutive pair of Australia’s first Commonwealth ten shillings banknotes (1913) (lot 2403 estimate $180,000)
  •  Original artwork (Teltscher) of the special currency from Australia’s infamous concentration or “internment “ camp for World War 11 Jewish refugees at Hay, NSW (lot 2563 estimate $28,000)
  • A medal awarded to one of the cavalrymen who took part in the legendary Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava in 1854 during the Crimean War. (lot 3756 estimate $9,000)
  • A medal awarded to a British soldier in the Maori Wars in New Zealand who was earlier wounded in Australia in the Battle of Eureka Stockade when British forces had to battle the gold miners in Ballarat who revolted against the gold mining licensing system. (lot 3763 estimate $12,000)
  • A large collection of honours, decorations, awards and badges, both military and civilian, some to prominent British and Australians including a former Australian Cabinet Minister, Sir Percy Spender (lot 3934 estimate $3,000), and several groups of medals to soldiers killed-in-action at Gallipoli (lots 3848-3856).
  • Very rare pattern coins for a new obverse design for the florin and shilling coinage, a modified style of these being used for the Australian 1927 Canberra florin commemorative. The only other known pair is in the Royal Mint Collection in Wales. (lot 1200 estimate $100,000)
  • Very rare pattern for an Australian crown size silver dollar proposed for the introduction of decimal currency in 1966. The only other example is in the National Collection at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra. (lot 1262 estimate $25,000)

The  Noble Numismatics 3-day Auction will be conducted  from 17-19 Nov 2015 at Dixson Room, State Library of NSW, Macquarie St, , Sydney

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