1 Penny

Delicia, Bahamas


1 penny, 1806-07 copper, varieties and restrikes exist

The reverse depicts the bark Delicia in the center chasing a pirate ship shown on the horizon at left, and, in the background at right, a mountain rising from the sea. Delicia was an East India merchantman of some 460 tons, built circa 1712, that was the flagship of Captain Woodes Rogers (1677-1732) when he arrived at Nassau in July 1718. Rogers brought with him a commission from King George I as first royal governor-in-chief of the Bahama Islands, with the responsibility of exterminating pirates and establishing more stable conditions in the Caribbean. He also had with him an Act of Grace, a royal pardon for all pirates who turned themselves in before 5 September 1718 and were willing to swear an oath to abstain from further piracies. After that date all were to be hunted down and hanged. About 1,000 pirates surrendered and received the king’s pardon, while eight of the unrepentant were hanged. Rogers succeeded in wiping out the pirate nest so effectively that in 1728 the Bahamas was able to adopt the Latin motto EXPULSIS PIRATIS RESTITUTA COMMERCIA (Pirates Expelled, Commerce Restored), which is inscribed on the reverse in the exergue. Prior thereto, Rogers had been a very successful privateer. On a three-year voyage around the world that started in 1708, he commanded the 320-ton Duke, armed with 30 guns, which was 105 ft (32 m) long and about 31 ft (9.4 m) in the beam, and had 117 men on board, and the 260-ton Dutchess, armed with 26 guns, which was 95 ft (29 m) long and 29 ft (8.8 m) in the beam, and carried 108 men. On this voyage he captured several prizes, including a French-built ship named Havre de Grâce that was almost as large as Dutchess, which he renamed Marquiss, and the Spanish 400-ton Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación Disengaño, armed with 20 mounted guns and carrying a crew of 193, which he renamed Batchelor. He returned to London with a treasure that would be worth today tens of millions of English pounds. The reverse design was taken from the seal of the colony. The 29-mm coin has the same size as the British halfpenny of 1806 and a similar weight (the Bahamian and the British coins weigh 9.2-9.5 g), but in the Bahamas the local coin was valued at one penny. No denomination is stated on the coin, just as no denomination was denoted on the British copper issues of the same period.

The obverse features the effigy of King George III.