Images courtesy of Superior
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..."
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."