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Lot 30255

Image Information

Type Coin
Title Lot 30255
/Catalog #
Grade 20
Service NGC
Denomination 3PENCE
Description (1615-6) 3PENCE Sommer Islands Threepence VF20 NGC. Encyclopedia-5, BMA Type One, W-11420, R.7. Ex: Brock. 36.2 grains. Die rotation is about 300 degrees. The Eric P. Newman Sommer Islands threepence is composed of 97% copper, 1% tin, and 2% trace elements. Crusty ebony verdigris is primarily evident on the obverse of this nicely detailed threepence, with light brown coloration on the worn high points of the obverse, and about the reverse periphery. The obverse appears bulged and the reverse dished, perhaps a result of the minting process. Design The central device on the obverse is a hog facing left; the Roman numeral III, for threepence, is above, and a square arrangement of five pellets appears at the lower left. The reverse has a ship with S to the left of the bow and I to the right of the stern, abbreviating Sommer Islands. Until 15 years ago, only a single variety was known. A second die pair was discovered in 1999, and offered in the March 1999 Bowers and Merena sale. The usual variety has small figures in the denomination, with their bases level. The new variety has larger figures in III that step upward from left to right. The Newman specimen represents the first variety. Historical Observations The origin of the Sommer Islands coins is undoubtedly London, although it is uncertain if they were minted privately or at the Royal Mint. In his August 2009 Colonial Newsletter article (which includes yet another variant spelling), "The Somers Isles Hogge Money: A Theory About Their Mysterious Origin," Max B. Spiegel makes a case that these coins were struck at the Royal Mint under the direction of Chief Engraver Charles Anthony. Spiegel writes: {blockquote}"Anthony was a logical choice for producing the hogge money. Not only was he the Chief Engraver of the Mint in London, but he was also a notable shareholder in the Somers Isles Company. Besides engraving for King James, Anthony did work for Prince Henry, who was a supporter of the Virginia Company. While Anthony is known conclusively to have engraved the Great Seal of England, he is also thought to have produced the seals for the Virginia Company and possibly the Somers Isles Company."{/blockquote} Commentary The Sommer Islands threepence is clearly the rarest denomination, and only seven examples are known to us. The finest appears to be the British Museum specimen, followed closely by the present Newman coin, and the Norweb specimen that is now in possession of the Bermuda Monetary Authority. Colonel Robert Coleman Hall Brock, an early owner of this piece, was born on January 26, 1861, and died on August 8, 1906. The Philadelphia resident was a prominent lawyer, and served as commander of the Second Infantry Regiment, Pennsylvania National Guard. He was a member of the Quaker City Yacht Club, and served on the Board of Trustees of the Pennsylvania Museum. C.J. Dochkus was likely Charles J. Dochkus, a Philadelphia engineer who lived from approximately 1901 to 1966. F.K. Saab was a full-time numismatic professional who was born in Egypt in 1897, and died at Riverdale, New York, in 1976. He was known as an authority on ancient coins, and he was a long-time contributor to the Guide Book of United States Coins. Census 1. XF. British Museum. The Breen Encyclopedia plate coin. 2. VF30. Jacob Giles Morris; Colonel Robert Coleman Hall Brock; University of Pennsylvania; Philip H. Ward, Jr; C.J. Dochkus; F.K. Saab; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. The present coin. 3. VF20. Robert R. Prann Collection (Abe Kosoff, 8/1947); J. Douglas Ferguson (12/1956); Norweb Collection (Bowers and Merena, 10/1987), lot 1141; Bermuda Monetary Authority. 4. Fine. Loye Lauder (Doyle Galleries, 1983), lot 109. Guide Book plate coin. 5. Fine. Carnegie Museum (Spink, 3/1983), lot 1120; Bank of Bermuda, Ltd. 6. Unknown grade. E. Rodovan-Bell. On loan to the Bank of Bermuda, Ltd. 7. Net Good. London, England (8/1927); later, a Midwestern coin dealer; Bowers and Merena (3/1999), lot 1001. The recently discovered second die pair. Provenance Ex: Jacob Giles Morris; Col. Robert C.H. Brock; University of Pennsylvania; Philip H. Ward, Jr; C.J. Dochkus; F.K. Saab; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. Realized $205,625.00. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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