holey dollar


variants or less commonly holy dollar
: a flat, doughnut-shaped silver coin used in New South Wales from 1813 to 1829 that was worth 5 shillings and that together with the dump (see dump entry 3 sense 2b) was fabricated from a Spanish peso

called also colonial dollar, pierced dollar, ring dollar

Note: Faced with a lack of coinage, the early government of New South Wales took 40,000 pesos (also known as Spanish silver dollars or pieces of eight) and broke each of them into two parts by punching the center out. The ring that had been the outer portion of the original coin was counterstamped with a new date and the words "New South Wales" and came to be known as a holey dollar. The small disk that had been the inner part of the original coin was stamped with new designs and called a dump.

Word History

First Known Use

1840, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of holey dollar was in 1840

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Cite this Entry

“Holey dollar.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holey%20dollar. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

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