Sommer Islands Coins by Denomination | Colonial Coins by Type | U.S. Coins by Type



Mintage: Unknown

Rarity: Rare

Images courtesy of Superior Galleries

Significant examples:
PCGS EF-40 (illustrated above).  Ex - Superior Galleries - Paul Arthur Norris - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Pre-Long Beach Sale", September 23 & 24, 2002, Lot 2, illustrated, where it was described as follows: "One of the classic rarities of the colonial series, only a few were known before the advent of metal detectors located several more in the Bermuda Islands. These were struck at the authorization of the Governor Daniel Tucker who was in office for just two years, 1616 to 1618. It is not known who made them, but they were struck using the ancient hammer method. The planchets were thin and seldom round, and silvered lightly to simulate value. Curiously the silvering caused the coins to rapidly corrode, and hence virtually none are known with smooth surfaces or much more than a trace of the original silvering. In particular we note this example is dark brown in color, with a fairly sharp strike. More or less round and well preserved, there are the usual areas of corrosion, but less so than on many others of this issue.
The Sommer Islands were named for Sir George Sommers (or Summers or Somers, all spellings recur) who ended up in the Bermuda Islands during a hurricane which forced his ship the Sea Adventure to seek shelter for repairs in 1609. Sommers left the Islands after the ships were repaired and returned to England, leaving a few sturdy men behind to claim the Islands for England. Those left behind were memorialized in Shakespeare's The Tempest with its allusion to the Islands. Meanwhile, Sommers returned to the Bermuda Islands the next year to bring provisions back to England, however Sommers died while in Bermuda. Thus the Islands were renamed from the Bermuda Islands (also Hogge Islands for the wild pigs on the Island which arrived via a shipwreck in 1532) to the Sommers Islands. In time, the name reverted back to the Bermuda Islands.
The coins depict the wild hog or boar, so many of which were found on the Island, and the reverse likely shows Sommer's flagship. Despite the numbers found in recent years, PCGS has graded a scant 3 so far, one in grades of VG-VF, and two as EF-40, with none higher! Most of those which have been located in the sands of Bermuda are in far worse shape than seen here, and many are corroded nearly beyond recognition. For many years only 2 were known (Crosby) and it wasn't until more recent times that a few dozen have been unearthed..."

Recent appearances:
PCGS VF-25 (illustrated below).  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Coin Sale" May 27-29, 2001, Lot 1001, where it was described as follows: "(1615-16) Sommer Islands 12 Pence (Shilling) Small Sails Breen-2 Rarity-5+ PCGS graded Very Fine-25. Much sharper but corroded, as is nearly always the case. The legend is strong except for MER, which is legible but a bit weak, and all the devices are visible. The planchet is covered with moderate corrosion but there is no verdigris or other crud. There is a small chip out of the planchet at the rim over the right side of O in SOMMER. Reddish chocolate brown with darker olive toning in protected areas. Nice detail for this rare early American colonial issue."

Obverse of Sommer Island Shilling     Reverse of Sommer Island Shilling

Images courtesy of Superior Galleries