Author Topic: Unlucky coin of Bermuda  (Read 1354 times)

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Offline Figleaf

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Unlucky coin of Bermuda
« on: November 13, 2009, 10:24:15 PM »
Numismatists all love the very scarce brass "Hogg money" coins of Bermuda, but they hardly left an impression on the hstory of the island. Small change was given in tobacco.

"Such is the mould that the blest tenants feeds
On precious fruits, and pays his rent in weeds"

Waller, The battle of the Summer Islands

"Payment in tobacco for accommodation of persons at the assizes not haveing given content to some persons in St. George's; it is unanimously ordered, that tobacco in all cases be the payment, and not to be refused for current payment, according to such value or estimate as it shall be pitched uppon at the tyme of division" (when an annual rating is struck.)

Silver coin was introduced only when shipwrecks started spilling Spanish colonial money on the beaches. Contemporary sources say the coin passed by weight. Money mismanagement drove coin out, leading to the issue of "certificates" (banknotes). A further measure was the introduction of copper pennies. An act of 1793 specifies that: "His Majesty has been graciously pleased by his order in council of 1st february 1793 to authorize Matthew Bolton, Esquire, of Birmingham, in England, to strike for the use of the inhabitants of these islands a quantity of copper coin..."

The coin was curse with bad luck. Part of the shipment was captured at sea by the French, the rest was undervalued in terms of Spanish colonial silver, melted or exported. A report of 1816 mentions only silver coins in circulation. This is all the more ironic since the design was made by the French-speaking Swiss Jean-Pierre Droz. The ship on the coin is probably an armed merchantman.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.