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Lot 3001

Image Information

Type Coin
Title Lot 3001
Side obverse
Grade 40
Service NGC
Service Catalog # 6
Denomination SHILNG
Description (1616) SHILNG Sommer Islands Shilling, Small Sails XF40 NGC. Breen-2, BMA Type One, W-11460, High R.5. 94.0 grains. Eric P. Newman's primary Sommer Islands shilling appeared in our May auction, and now his duplicate example is offered to the current numismatic generation for the first time in 70 years since he purchased the coin from his mentor and partner, B.G. Johnson, in 1944. Light corrosion on each side of this olive-brown example fails to diminish the excellent details. Minor greenish patina accompanies light tan on the high points. The strike is nicely centered, with the legend and all major design elements complete. Despite previous accounts that pigs populating the Bermudas were the result of a shipwreck, it is more properly thought that Captain Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes intentionally left them on the island in the year 1515 with expectations that they would multiply to provide a future food source for explorers. Almost a century later, the British colony of Jamestown was settled and nearly half of the settlers had died of starvation or disease within a year. A relief fleet left England in June 1609 under the guidance of the flagship, Sea Venture, which eventually became separated from the other ships during a hurricane. The Sea Venture made its way to Bermuda where it was destroyed off-shore. The episode stranded 150 men, women, and children who spent nine months building two new ships. They eventually reached Virginia 11 months after leaving England. Admiral George Somers returned to the islands where he died on November 9, 1610. The islands were named after him. Mark A. Sportack addresses the spelling variants of the eponymous Islands (which we refer to as Sommer Islands) in "The Myths and Mysteries of the Somers' Ilands Hogge Money," in the 2006 Money of the Caribbean edited by Richard Doty and John Kleeberg: {blockquote} "Somer's Islands, Somer's Isles, Summer Isles, Sumer Islands, Sommer's Ilands: the spelling variations seem endless. All are spellings found in historical accounts of the mercantilist colonial settlement of the archipelago that would come to be known as Bermuda."{/blockquote} Louis Jordan provides additional historical information in "Somer Islands 'Hogge Money' of 1616: The Historical Context" published in the August 2003 issue of The Colonial Newsletter. The Charter of [June 29] 1615 gave the "Governour and Company of the City of London for the Plantacon [sic] of the Somer Islands" the right to issue coins. Jordan quotes contemporary documents that indicate the Hogge Money or Sommer Islands coinage was issued between May and December 1616. Hogge money was similar to contemporary English token coinage issued by local merchants, and was used to pay wages of day laborers on the island. Those laborers could then make purchases at the Somer Islands Company storehouse. Jordan writes: "Hogge money was a short-term experimental method of paying for work on company projects." The issue was extremely limited, and surviving examples are rarely encountered. Ex: Virgil Brand; Carl Wurtzbach; B.G. Johnson (5/11/1944); Eric P. Newman; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. Realized $82250.00. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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