Coin Australian 'bought for $10' now worth staggering sum

'There's money to make in coins if you take the right advice'.

A rare coin an Australian bought for “about $10” is expected to sell for the staggering sum of $60,000 at an auction in Sydney.

Coin expert Jim Noble told Yahoo Finance the silver coin was minted in Britain in 1889 for circulation in China, and is one of few from the batch that survived being melted down after it was worked out the value of the silver was worth more than its 50 cent denomination.

“These cost very little in the old days and now they are going to make a lot of money,” he said.

A rare Chinese coin
A coin bought for "about $10" is set to sell for over $60,000. (Credit: Jim Noble)

This one is in mint condition and Noble said he’d had interested buyers from China who had asked for a video stream to check how perfect it was.

There’s another extremely rare coin up for auction that’s expected to go for $120,000 that Noble himself sold decades ago.


It’s actually a piece of Australian history. The holey dollar was the first currency minted in Australia and there are only about 300 of them in existence, 100 of which are in museums.

“I sold that to the owner in 1981 for $22,000 and now it’s expected to bring in $120,000,” Noble said.

“It’s been a long time. We met for the first time 42 years ago and now his hair has gone from black to white.”

The history of the holey dollar involves a convict forger who cut the centre out of 40,000 Spanish reales imported to Australia in 1812 to address a coin shortage.

To double the number of available coins - the coins were counter stamped and the outer ring became the holey dollar, worth five shilling, and the centre, known as the dump, was worth 15 pence.

“There’s money to make in coins if you take the right advice,” Noble said.

A holey dollar.
The holey dollar is a part of Australian history, being the first currency minted in the country. (Credit: Jim Noble)

There's also a dump for sale, but it's not as valuable.

Are these types of coins the ones you could come across in a family member’s basement?

Coin expert Matt Thompson told Yahoo Finance maybe.

“Coins from deceased estates can be in lower grades and fetch less money, but having said that I’ve heard stories of people having a holey dollar in their grandparents collection and those start out at $60,000 and go up to about half a million.”

The coins, among many others, will go under the hammer this week.

Some include those from the filing cabinets of Sydney collector Barry Scott.

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