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Lot 30257

Image Information

Type Coin
Title Lot 30257
/Catalog #
Grade 55
Service NGC
Denomination SHILNG
Description (1615-6) SHILNG Sommer Islands Shilling, Small Sails AU55 NGC. Encyclopedia-1, BMA Type Two, W-11465, High R.5. Ex: Brock. 67.6 grains. Die rotation is about 250 degrees. The Eric P. Newman Sommer Islands shilling is composed of 77% copper, 22% tin, and 1% trace elements. This is a remarkable near-Mint piece with exceptional surfaces. Subtle greenish patina appears on both sides of this dark olive example, with only a trace of wear on the high points. The reverse is imperfectly centered. Design A hog provides the central obverse design motif, with the denomination (in this case XII for 12 pence) above. The Obverse legend reads SOMMER * ILANDS *. The reverse depicts a ship with rigging, sailing through the waves. Two varieties are identified for the Sommer Islands shillings. Both varieties have the top of the sails tilted downward from left to right. The Large Sails variety has the tilt at approximately 60 degrees, pointing to 11 o'clock, and the Small Sails variety has that angle at about 30 degrees, pointing to about 10 o'clock. There are six or seven examples known of the Large Sails variety, and just over 30 examples known of the Small Sails. This is the most plentiful of all the Sommer Islands denominations. Historical Observations The Sommer Islands coins are classic examples of the ancient hammer technique of minting. In its simplest form, one die was fixed to an anvil, which might have ranged from a simple tree stump to a complex holder. The other die was held in place with a planchet between them, and a hammer swung by the same individual or an assistant, striking the top die to produce the coin. Even in modern times, the two dies in a coinage press are labeled the anvil die and the hammer die. Because the anvil die was loose and held in position, dramatic die rotation is a characteristic of the hammer minting technique. Numismatic Commentary Past references frequently refer to the Sommer Islands coins as brass composition, and often silvered. Technological advances have permitted easy access to metallurgical analysis, showing that these coins have a high copper content, and that the "silvering" is actually tin. Spiegel writes: "The planchets were annealed prior to striking and were subsequently hand-struck with a hammer. Some coins were then dipped in molten tin - undoubtedly contemporary to the striking - which would give the appearance of silver." Provenance Ex: Jacob Giles Morris; Col. Robert C.H. Brock; Brock; University of Pennsylvania; Philip H. Ward, Jr; C.J. Dochkus; F.K. Saab; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. Realized $258,500.00. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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