World Coins

Royal Australian Mint exhibit features Holey dollars

An exhibit of 11 Holey dollars and 11 Dumps is on view at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra.

Image courtesy of Coinworks.

Australia’s most famous coins — the Holey dollars and their companions known as “Dumps” — are on display at the Royal Australian Mint.

“All That is Holey: The First Minted Coins of Australia,” opened Aug. 16 and continues through Nov. 3. 

The exhibit was created in partnership with Melbourne-based coin firm Coinworks, and features 11 Holey dollars and 11 Dumps, of the estimated 300 Holey dollars and 1,000 Dumps currently in existence.

A collection this size has never been showcased for the general public, according to the RAM.

“The Holey Dollar is a story, and this exhibition will narrate the story of the Holey dollar in its entirety,” according to Coinworks. 

Every Holey dollar began its life as a Spanish silver dollar. The host coins had the portraits of various rulers and were minted in Spain or one of the Spanish Colonial mints of South America.

The differences among the host coins — the mint, the monarch, and of course the quality — distinguish each Holey dollar

While Holey dollars are rare, some are far rarer than others. Three examples in the display are unique, with no representations in museums or public institutions elsewhere in the world, including a Charles III Holey dollar struck on a 1789 silver dollar (Charles III died in 1788). 

The exhibition also documents the narrative of the Dump. Despite its diminutive size, the Dump is an integral part of early Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s story, with its own narrative to tell.

Entry to the exhibit is free. 


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