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    Description

    (1616) Sommer Islands Sixpence, XF40
    Small Portholes, W-11440
    Tied for Finest at PCGS

    (1616) 6PENCE Sixpence, Small Portholes, XF40 PCGS. Breen-4, W-11440, BMA Type II, Low R.7. To quote Sylvester Sage Crosby "the coinage for the Bermuda or Sommer Islands was doubtless the first ever struck for the English colonies in America." The Sommer Islands coinage was struck circa 1616 in England for use in the colony administered by the Bermuda Company, under letters of patent signed by James I on June 29, 1615. Coins were issued in four denominations of twopence, threepence, sixpence, and shilling, with the numerals II, III, IV, and XII representing the values. These pieces were struck on brass planchets and lightly silvered. Their intrinsic value was minimal, but they circulated as fiat money in the colony for several years, although tobacco remained the main medium of exchange in the local economy. All Sommer Islands coinage is elusive today, but modern metal detector finds and archaeological excavations on Castle Island have increased the supply of sixpences considerably. Most survivors are in low grade, with heavily corroded surfaces.

    Design of the Sixpence
    The obverse features a hog facing left with the denomination VI centered over his back. There is a group of four pellets between his feet and another below the grass. A beaded circle surrounds the hog, with SOMMER ILANDS around the border. The reverse portrays a three-masted ship. There are two versions of the sixpence, one with four small portholes and a row of widely spaced studs on planking above the portholes and another with four larger portholes and no row of studs. This coin represents the scarcer Small Portholes variety.

    The Present Coin
    The coin offered here is a remarkable example of the rare Small Portholes variety, with traces of its original silver wash intact and much interior detail on the design elements still evident. The SOMMER ILANDS legend remains legible, though weak in some places, and the hog is boldly detailed. All four portholes are visible on close inspection. The pleasing steel-brown and silver-gray surfaces show some light corrosion, as on all pieces seen, with a few highlights of sea-green oxidation in selected areas. This coin is tied with one other piece for finest certified Small Portholes example at PCGS, with a single coin finer at NGC (7/19). Listed on page 38 of the 2020 Guide Book.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# AUBE, PCGS# 4)


    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2019
    5th-8th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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