The $500,000 coin: Collectors search for rare Australian piece - and there ...

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This is the extremely rare Australian coin worth up to half a million dollars that could be lurking in the bottom of your grandparents' old penny jar.

Australians on the hunt for the 1813 'holey dollar' caused an uproar on Facebook earlier this week when one man thought he found one in New South Wales, in a jar full of mixed pennies and foreign coins belonging to some grandparents, who had died. 

The man posted photos to Detecting Downunder, a group of nearly 9000 treasure hunters, causing their Facebook page to explode with excitement.

Photo of both sides of an 1813 Holey Dollar from the Powerhouse Museum. Only 300 are thought to be left after most were melted into bullion after 1822. They are worth from $40,000 to $500,000 and a man has found one scuba diving in Sydney Harbour, a coin expert has said

Photo of both sides of an 1813 Holey Dollar from the Powerhouse Museum. Only 300 are thought to be left after most were melted into bullion after 1822. They are worth from $40,000 to $500,000 and a man has found one scuba diving in Sydney Harbour, a coin expert has said

The centres cut from Spanish pieces of eight were turned into a 15-pence 'dump' coin. There are thought to be just over 1000 left and they are worth from $1000 up to $60,000

The centres cut from Spanish pieces of eight were turned into a 15-pence 'dump' coin. There are thought to be just over 1000 left and they are worth from $1000 up to $60,000

The celebration was short lived however as experts pointed out it was one of many copies made of the valuable coin.

The tell-tale sign is that there is a barely legible stamp of the word 'copy' in the top left quarter of the coin, just above the crown where the number 9 would be on a clock face.  

The 1813 holey dollar was the first coin minted in the colony of New South Wales and is a highly valuable piece of Australian history.

Even counterfeit versions, made of copper plated with silver, can sell for a lot of money if they are of historical signficance. 

Governor Lachlan Macquarie ordered the coins to be created because a shortage of currency had led the colonists to start using rum to pay for goods and services, causing widespread drunkenness and debauchery.

An excited coin enthusiast set Facebook alight with speculation last Friday after finding this coin in his grandparents' old penny jar - but unfortunately it was just a copy

An excited coin enthusiast set Facebook alight with speculation last Friday after finding this coin in his grandparents' old

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