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Rare Australian coins fetch record prices

05 july 2011, 14:36
0
Photo courtesy of www.coinworks.com.au
Photo courtesy of www.coinworks.com.au
Rare Australian coins have been fetching record prices this year with a holey dollar selling for Aus$485,000 (US$521,000) last month, AFP reports, citing dealers on Monday.

The holey dollar is the country's first domestic coin, struck in 1789, after the then British government bought 40,000 Spanish silver dollars to solve a currency shortage in its fledgling penal colony.

A hole was punched through the coin's centre to devalue and localise the currency to ensure it was not smuggled out of Australia. Only 300 are known to exist, with nearly 200 of those in private hands.

Melinda Cuppens, managing director of rare currency dealer Coinworks, which conducted the sale, said it was in amazingly good condition.

"It's probably in the top 10 of those holey dollars you could lay your hands on," she said.

It follows the sale earlier this year of a 1930 proof penny for more than Aus$1.5 million. As a proof coin, it was never intended for circulation but was instead created as a museum piece, with just six ever struck, and only three in private hands.

Another significant sale was a 1920 Kookaburra square halfpenny, one of only three known to exist, for Aus$725,000, Coinworks said.

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