'Holey dollar' adds rare value to Nowra man's coin collection

A coin from 1737 (in hand) and two from the early 1800s make up a local man's valuable coin collection.
A coin from 1737 (in hand) and two from the early 1800s make up a local man's valuable coin collection.

Not even $50,000 could convince one Nowra resident to part with his ‘holey dollar’. 

The local man, who did not wish to be named for security reasons, has an extensive, valuable coin collection. 

After finding the holey dollar many years ago, Brett* knew even then that he was onto a winner. 

“We lived in Bermuda and I found it on the footpath on the way home from school,” he said. 

“I was offered $33,000 for it and even though I was only 13 years old, I didn’t take it.”

The holey dollar.

The holey dollar.

The holey dollar was Australia’s first official currency. There’s only 300 still in existence.

Valued at five shillings, they were created by stamping the centres out of 40,000 imported Spanish silver eight-real coins.

As an adult, Brett was offered up to $50,000 for the coin. Again, he turned the offer down. 

“It’s travelled halfway around the world with me. I keep it in a safe,” he said. 

Brett also has a ‘cartwheel penny’ and other valuable coins found while renovating his Nowra home. The same coin was recently discovered in Wollongong, however Brett said he scooped his up years ago. 

“I found it in 1966 when we were pulling up our wooden verandah,” he said.

After finding that very first coin at the age of 13, there have been many other valuable contributions to Brett’s coin collection. 

Brett received Egyptian coins from an aunt and uncle, and a Spanish monk gave him a five cent Cuban coin while he was on a ship bound for England. 

With around 1000 coins to his name, Brett doesn’t plan to part with his collection anytime soon. 

*Not real name.

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