Rare Bermuda coin sells for $30,000
A rare Bermuda coin - possibly dating back to the 1700s - has sold at auction for more than $30,000.
The coin went under the hammer in London on Tuesday, and was expected to sell for between $7,000 and $11,000, but the successful bidder eventually paid $30,800.
The coin was found by a metal detectorist in Kent, in the UK, in 2019 and there was speculation that it may date back to an earlier vintage and be a rare example of Hogge currency used shortly after Bermuda was settled in 1609. Examples have recently sold for more than $100,000.
But Bermudian collectors have doubted that claim, saying it was more likely an 18th century copy or ’tribute’ coin.
In a pre-sale write-up on the coin, auction house Sovereign Rarities, which held the auction, described it as “something of an enigma”.
The guide said: “There is always difficulty in proving the origin of a piece without any comparable examples.”
The description added that metallurgy tests showed that the coin predated all known copies of Hogge money, but that “there is no data available to properly attribute this specimen”.
Cooper Simpson, a Bermudian collector, said he was surprised that the coin collected such a high price.
He said that research by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation – the organisation that authenticates antique coins – was inconclusive.
And he urged the new owner to contact him so that further research could be carried out.
Mr Simpson said: “I think it’s an incredible result for a coin cast in such doubt.
“The estimate was £5,000 to £8,000, which I think was fair for a reproduction or fantasy piece of Hogge money with this level of mystery behind it.
“The NGC wouldn’t authenticate it and I wouldn’t be able to authenticate it – more work needs to be done.
“Hopefully the buyer has ties to Bermuda and will be willing to reach out.
“In order for the NGC to certify it, published research would need to be put out confirming – or denying – its authenticity.
“I would love it if they reached out so we could continue to work on it to try to do our best to better determine what it is.”