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    Very Fine Small Sails Sommer Islands Shilling
    Breen-2, A Key Colonial Type

    (1615-16) SHILNG Sommer Islands Shilling, Small Sails VF25 PCGS. Breen-2, High R.5. A desirable representative of the largest denomination from this famously rare series. Designated VF25 by PCGS, but the sharpness is XF or finer, since details of the ship and hog are bold. All letters are readable within the obverse peripheral legend, and only MER is faint. The shilling is reduced in grade because, as is the case for virtually all known examples, the surfaces are evenly granular from long-term exposure to Bermuda soil. A small edge chip is absent at 1:30, perhaps as made. Scrutiny with a loupe fails to locate any abrasions.
    England initially named the islands after Sir George Somers, an adventurer shipwrecked there in 1609. His crew was gratified by the abundance of hogs, a species introduced by an earlier Spanish shipwreck circa 1515. The Sommer Islands issued its first currency within a decade after Somers' arrival.
    All four denominations feature similar designs: a hog on the obverse, and a ship (presumably Somers' galleon, the Sea Adventure) on the reverse. For the shilling, two die varieties are known, which share a common obverse. The Large Sails reverse is extremely rare, although similarly priced in the Guide Book to the Small Sails variety, which is merely very rare. The "Hogge Money" denominations (shilling, sixpence, threepence, twopence) are identical to those introduced by the Boston Mint later in the same century.
    Although Breen states, "over 20 found in Bermuda circa 1977," the Small Sails shilling remains a great rarity. Several examples are held by the Bermuda government or monetary authority. Heritage's online archives date to 1993, and no Sommer Islands shillings have appeared in a Heritage auction within that span. PCGS has certified a total of three pieces, and none are certified by NGC. Undoubtedly, a number of survivors are too corroded to meet the standards of the two major grading services. The advanced collector in search of a sharp example with good eye appeal need look no further. Listed on page 34 of the 2008 Guide Book. Population: 1 in 25, 2 finer (4/08).
    Ex: Pre-Long Beach Coin Sale (Superior, 5/2001), lot 1001.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# AUBG, PCGS# 6)

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    Jul-Aug, 2008
    30th-3rd Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 17
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,938

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