"Sommer Islands" shilling (small sails)
Diameter: 30 mm
Weight: 88.48 grains
Gift of the Lasser Family
Acc. No. 2004-8,1
Obverse: Hog standing to left.
Reverse: Ship sailing to left.
Label:While on their way to Virginia, a British expedition led by Sir George Somers, Sir Thomas Gates and Captain Christopher Newport were forced by a hurricane to make landfall in Bermuda during the summer of 1609. Once ashore, the expedition was pleased to find the island populated by wild hogs - a much-welcomed source of fresh meat (these hogs were the descendants of those shipwrecked there as part of Juan de Bermudez' ill-fated voyage to Cuba in 1532).
Within a few years English settlers began to arrive in the "Sommer Islands," so named for Sir George, who died there in 1611. By 1616, Governor Daniel Tucker, a Virginia planter had introduced a coinage for use in the islands, denominated in token values of tobacco. These coins pictured a "hogge" on the obverse and a ship on the reverse - a direct reference to the pork feast awaiting the British upon their arrival 7 years earlier. Today, these coins are very rare and are known to be the first coins issued for use by the British for use in the New World.
The largest denomination of "hogge money" struck for the Sommer Islands, this shilling is made of thin brass and was originally tin-plated so that it looked more like its British counterparts, which were of good silver. Over the hog is "XII," meaning twelve pence.
Breen #2 (the plate coin)
Provenance:Richard Picker (Stack's 10-24-84, lot 1), Jenks (1921, lot 5382), Mills (1904, lot 1)
Inscription(s):Obverse: "SOMMER ILANDS" with the denomination "XII" above the hog.