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Sommer Islands (Bermuda)

This coinage, the first struck for the English colonies in the New World, was issued circa 1616. The coins were known as Hogge Money or Hoggies. The pieces were made of brass or copper, lightly silvered, in four denominations: shilling, sixpence, threepence, and twopence, each indicated by Roman numerals. The hog is the main device and appears on the obverse side of each. SOMMER ISLANDS is inscribed within beaded circles on the larger denominations. The reverse shows a full-rigged galleon with the flag of St. George on each of four masts. Many examples of these coins show signs of oxidation and pitting. The islands were named for Sir George Sommers, who was shipwrecked there in 1609 while en route to the Virginia plantations. Shakespeare’s Tempest was possibly based on this incident. The Bermuda Islands, as they are known today, were named for Juan de Bermúdez, who is believed to have stopped there in 1515. A few hogs that he carried for delivery to the West Indies were left behind. When Sommers and his party arrived, the islands were overrun with the animals, which served as a welcome source of food.

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