Three rare Australian coins sold for almost $900,000 at a Melbourne auction on Monday night. The sale broke two records.
The coin that fetched the highest price was the Hannibal Head Holey Dollar sold for $410,000. It was shaped in New South Wales in 1813 from a silver dollar minted in Peru in 1810.
A one-cent copper coin minted in 1793 – the year in which the newly-independent United States of America first began minting its own currency – has fetched a record $1.36 million at a Florida auction.
The second coin, an 1852 Adelaide pound, sold for $370,000. The sale broke record for coins of their type sold at auction. The pound, Australia's first gold coin, broke the previous record of $240,000.
The third coin, an 1813 Colonial Dumps coin, fetched only half of the estimated price at $100,000. It was a centerpiece from one of the doughnut coins with the stamp fifteen pence.
The Holey Dollar is the only one in private hands. Another similar coin that belongs to the 40,000 Spanish coins acquired then by Governor Lachlan Macquarie to address Australia's coin shortage is owned by the New South Wales State Library.
Belinda Downie, managing director of Coinworks which held the auction, disclosed that the Holey dollar was part of a bushranger's hoard discovered in 1881 and was eventually owned by Mr Macquarie, former governor of Tasmania.
After he acquired the coin hoard, he got the services of William Henshall, a convicted forger, to place a hole on the centre of each coin and stamp each with the words New South Wales, the five shilling value and the year 1813, Ms Downie said.
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