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Sommer Islands



The brass coins struck in England for use in the Sommer Islands, now known as Bermuda, were popularly called Hogge Money or "Hoggies" in their own time. When new, these pieces were lightly plated in silver to simulate the English coins to which they corresponded-twopence, threepence, sixpence and shilling (12 pence). As found today, however, little or no trace of their original silver plating is seen. This is not the result of wear so much as the environmental damage typically suffered by brass or copper coins of such vintage.

The coins display a profile view of a hog on their obverse, such animals largely sustaining the first Englishmen who found themselves shipwrecked on the island in 1609. Their leader was Sir George Sommers, and this incident is sometimes claimed to have been the foundation for Shakespeare's Tempest. The reverse of each coin depicts a ship flying the flag of St. George on each mast. Sommers' party, which had been on its way to the Virginia colony when stranded on the island, were pleased to find a colony of hogs that had multiplied since being left behind by a previous visitor, Juan de Bermúdez, in 1515. It's believed that these coins were produced a century later, in or around 1616, and they are highly prized as the earliest English coins made for use exclusively in North America.


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