The Australian Numismatic Society

            A Paper given at the June 2020 online Conference

                                Hog Money of the Sommer Isles by Ian Sizeland

Thanks to Columbus in 1492 with his voyage of exploration and discovery, the world as it was known changed forever.

With the discovery of the Americas it was a race by the European countries to colonize and expand their domains. The main players were the Spanish,
Portuguese, French and English, several of the Nordic countries also vied for a piece of the new world, with Norway, Sweden and Russia competing. 

In 1505 Juan Bermudez of Palos, Castile and Captain of the ship La Garza discovered the islands that bear his name - Bermuda.

Peter Martyr d'Anghiera, an Italian historian at the service of Spain published Legatio Babylonica, in 1511 and lists "La Bermuda" among the Atlantic islands

              Map of Bermuda 1511 legatio babylonica

It is supposed that during his second voyage, Bermudez purposely left a dozen pigs and sows on the islands so they would populate and be a source of
food  for any shipwrecks.

Over a century later, in 1609, an English ship the Sea Venture, captained by Admiral Sir George Sommers, left Plymouth, England, with eight other ships
and  towing two Pinnacles of supplies en route to the British settlement of Jamestown, Virginia.

This was an urgent re-supply mission, the third since the establishment of Jamestown in 1606.

On 24th July, as they neared their destination, his ship the Sea Venture was separated from the fleet by a severe storm and although it was the new
flagship of the Virginia Company, it began to sink and was deliberately driven onto reefs off the coast of Bermuda, which were then known by the
English as the Bermoothes or the Hogge Islands.

The crew of 150 remained on the islands for 10 months,  taking it as a English possession, they survived on local produce, coconuts, fish and of cause the wild Hogs.

They constructed two new boats, using local timber and parts of the wrecked Sea Venture and on May 10, 1610, the new boats were completed and the
crew finally departed for Virginia.

On arrival they found the Jamestown settlers close to starvation, about a month later on June 19, 1610, Sir George Sommers, using one of the pinnacles returned
to the islands to help provision the Jamestown settlement, where he died soon after arriving in 1611. The islands were renamed the Sommer Islands by the English
in honour of Sir George Sommers but was rejected by the majority of Mariners, so the name was restored to Bermuda.

Hogge Money – Bermuda, 1616:
Control of Bermuda was vested in the Virginia Company from 1612 and this was replaced by a new company called the Somer Island Company from 29 June 1615.

That company was authorised by James 1 to issue its own coinage for the islands and took immediate steps to take advantage of this. Governor Daniel Tucker was
supplied with the coinage and instruction for its issue in the payment of weekly wages. He arrived in May 1616 with the coins which had been struck in
'brass' with a silver wash. The coins feature a hog (spelled hogge at that time) after the wild boars found on the islands. They were known as  Hogge Money
but were not popular, being of base metal in an era when coins normally contained metal to the value of their denomination. By 1624 their use had ceased.

The coins or Tokens were made in denominations of two, three, six, and twelve pence (1Shilling)

The Obverse showed a hog with the denomination in roman numerals above the animal and the on the six and twelve pence a legend
"SOMMER ISLANDS" within two circles of beads

Hog (Hogge) Money series – Bermuda, 1616:
Threepence and Twopence. Issued by, Bermuda Somer (Sommer) Islands, 1616, obverse.

6 Pence, and 12 pence (1 Shilling) Issued by, Bermuda Somer (Sommer) Islands, 1616.
Obverse Description
At centre within a line circle, a hog standing facing left; above, roman numeral II, III,VI, XII ; around outside the circle, SOMMER ILANDS
Reverse Description
Within a border of beads, a three-masted vessel under sail to left
The reverse displayed a ship, probably the Sea Adventurer, with a single circle of beads around the border and no legend (the two and three
pence denominations have an S to the left of the ship and an I to the right for Sommer Islands

The Sommer Islands tokens were the first English coinage made for use in the Americas.
These crude, light weight coins were not well received and went out of use by 1624.
The Spanish Dollar replaced the Hog Money and was used throughout the region.

 1 Penny - Bermuda, 1793
After their experience with this so-called "Hogge money," Bermuda did not have another coin of its own until the 1793 copper penny which was
produced in Birmingham at Boulton's Soho Mint.
Proof Penny, Issued by, Bermuda, 1793.
Minted at Soho, Birmingham.
Obverse die by Droz

Obverse Description
Lauteate bust of the King facing right; DROZ F on neck truncation; around, GEORGIVS III D G REX
Reverse Description
A three-masted sailing ship under full sail to left; land on horizon at right; above, BERMUDA; in exergue, 1793
Edge Description
The colonial agent for Bermuda, John Bridgewood, sought the production of this issue from Matthew Boulton on 8 November 1792. The coins
were needed quickly so Boulton used an obverse die prepared for a hoped-for British copper coinage at least two years earlier. That die was by
Droz who was no longer with the Soho Mint. The working strike coins, 81,942 pieces, were finished by 7 May 1793 with 50 bronzed and 50
copper proofs prepared a few days later.

After 1793, no other coins were produced in Bermuda until the commemorative crowns of 1959 and 1964.

Proof Coin - Crown, Bermuda, 1959

Proof Crown, Issued by, Bermuda, 1959.
Minted at Royal Mint, London

Obverse Description
Crowned bust wearing necklace facing right; around, ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA; inuse on the bust truncation the artist's initials,
CT (Cecil Thomas)
Reverse Description
At centre a relief map of Bermuda; above, a single-masted sailing ship flying a pendant bearing the Union Jack, an early Bermuda cedar sloop;
below, Bermuda fitted dinghy.
Edge Description
The ships on this coin are sometimes referred to as the Deliverance and the Patience which were built on Bermuda in 1610 by Admiral Sir George
Somers from ships wrecked in a storm and local timber.

Crown, Bermuda, 1964

Crown, Issued by, Bermuda, 1964
Minted at Royal Mint, London.
Obverse Description
Crowned bust wearing necklace facing right; around, ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA; incuse on the bust truncation the artist's initials,
CT (Cecil Thomas)
Reverse Description
The coat of arms of Bermuda dividing the date 1964; the arms is a shield depicting the wreck of the Sea Venture which was driven ashore (by
Admiral Sir George Somers of the Virginia Company) on the island in 1609, the shield is supported by a lion (representing England); below on
a ribbon, QUO FATA FERUNT (translation: Where the Fates carry us); around above, ONE BERMUDA CROWN
Edge Description
This coin, though legal tender, apparently saw little circulation on the island. Its prime function was in sales to collectors, the choice of silver as
the metal from which it was struck highlights this role, During the 1960's, the price of silver was rising and the few countries that had not already
abandoned silver for circulating coins were moving to copper-nickel alloys for their main coinage needs. Australia persisted with one silver
denomination, the 50 cent, only for the first year of decimal coinage, 1966.
It was not until 1970, with the introduction of the decimal system in the United Kingdom, that Bermuda began regularly minting coins.

Though there are no more wild Hogs on Bermuda the history continues with One Cent coin which depicts a hog on the reverse.

1 Cent, Issued by, Bermuda, 1983.
Mint not recorded.
Obverse Description
Diademed and draped bust of the Queen facing right; around, ELIZABETH II BERMUDA
Reverse Description
Wild boar (hog) facing left; around, ONE CENT 1973
Edge Description
Decimal coinage was introduced in Bermuda in February 1970, it's dollar pegged to the US dollar since 31 July 1972
All images courtesy of:  Museums Victoria Collections
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19th June 2020