Author Topic: Coinage of Switzerland  (Read 856 times)

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Offline chrisild

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Re: Coinage of Switzerland
« Reply #45 on: June 03, 2019, 01:21:13 PM »
Others disliked the high mountains in the background ("too much cliché"), and even when the final design of the 20 Fr coin was presented, there were objections to "that frivolous forehead curl". ;D (Source: same as above) So that had to be modified again ...

Christian

Offline chrisild

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Re: Coinage of Switzerland
« Reply #46 on: June 03, 2019, 01:44:52 PM »
One general comment about Swiss coins: Due to the four official languages, the coins from that country are usually not verbose. ;)  The country name is always in Latin (Helvetia or Confœderatio Helvetica), the value is usually indicated by a mere "Fr." or "FR", with no unit name for the rapper/centime/etc. coins. Only when it comes to regional customs, or a sight in a specific place, you will see words in the appropriate local language on Swiss collector coins.

And now, those stars. Note that on the half franc, 1 FR and 2 Fr Swiss coins, Helvetia is surrounded by stars, arranged in two half circles. Unlike the 13 stars mentioned before, these 22 (until 1982) or 23 stars (as from 1983) represent the cantons. Depending on how you count the so-called half-cantons, the coins could have 26 these days, but they don't. :)

Also, the stars are arranged in a radial way. Not sure whether that is the correct term - both the Stars of Europe (on the EU flag) and the Swiss stars are five-pointed, but on coins from Switzerland one point of each star points at the edge.

Christian

Offline <k>

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Re: Coinage of Switzerland
« Reply #47 on: June 03, 2019, 02:32:40 PM »
Excellent info, chrisild.  8)

Let's hurtle back to the 1980s now. Here is a nice photo to set the scene. By now Switzerland was a very rich country, partly thanks to the "Gnomes of Zürich": the bankers and finance capitalists. (The Swiss franc is THE hard currency par excellence). It was also still a sparsely populated and very beautiful country. Chocolate box scenery abounds, and it is utterly clean. I just never saw dirt or litter or architectural ugliness when I visited Switzerland.

The country has a mainly ethnically German population that is very peaceful and lives in harmony with its Francophone and Italian-speaking compatriots. It operates direct democracy, in which the populace requests frequent referenda, yet without the problems that the UK has struggled with. Switzerland is not a member of the EU and remains a neutral country. It enjoys exactly the sort of splendid isolation, despite being at the heart of Europe, that many a current Brexiter would envy. Instead, of course, the Brexiters tend to envy Norway, perhaps because it has a large coastline and is, like Britain, a long and thin country.  :)

I can name no Swiss politician, yet one or two names from the cultural sphere stand out. One is Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology.  Another is Albert Hofmann, who first synthesised LSD. He later had rather a strange time of it after absorbing some through his fingertips.  :D

All in all, Switzerland is something of a fairy tale country, almost too good to be true.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2019, 02:59:08 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Coinage of Switzerland
« Reply #48 on: June 03, 2019, 02:39:16 PM »
Until 1982, some of the Swiss coins were aligned thus: ↑↓

- that is, like the US coins. Then, in 1982, they were all aligned thus: ↑↑  . This improved their presentation when they were seen in an album or proof set.

Offline <k>

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Re: Coinage of Switzerland
« Reply #49 on: June 03, 2019, 02:43:36 PM »
From the web site of the Swiss National Bank:

From 1985 to 1993, 5-franc coins were minted with sunk relief type around the edges. As an increasing number of counterfeits with sunk relief type around the edges began to appear, a decision was made in 1994 to mint 5-franc pieces with a raised (slightly embossed) relief type around the edges. The 5-franc pieces with sunk relief type around the edges were withdrawn from circulation on 1 January 2004. The SNB continues to exchange them at full nominal value.



Does anybody have instructive images of these coins?

Offline <k>

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Re: Coinage of Switzerland
« Reply #50 on: June 03, 2019, 02:50:34 PM »
From Wikipedia:

The 1-centime coin was still produced until 2006, albeit in ever decreasing quantities, but its importance declined. Those who could justify the use of 1-centime coins for monetary purposes could obtain them at face value; any other user (such as collectors) had to pay an additional four centimes per coin to cover the production costs, which had exceeded the actual face value of the coin for many years. The coin fell into disuse in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but was only officially fully withdrawn from circulation and declared to be no longer legal tender on 1 January 2007. The long-forgotten 2-centime coin, not minted since 1974, was demonetized on 1 January 1978.



So much for the recently demonetised coins.

As for the oldest coins still in use, the Swiss National Bank tells us:

There are 10-centime coins minted in 1879 still in circulation and which are still legal tender.

Offline <k>

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Re: Coinage of Switzerland
« Reply #51 on: June 03, 2019, 02:55:25 PM »
This, then, ends my survey and brings us up to date.

I am particularly glad that our admin Figleaf enjoyed the topic. I feared that he would contemptuously declare the country a 'flyspeck', because it has a population of only 8 million and is physically smaller than little Bosnia-Herzegovina. What's more, it has steadfastly refused to join the EU.  :-X

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Coinage of Switzerland
« Reply #52 on: June 03, 2019, 03:11:28 PM »
No need. >:D Consider Orson Welles' take in "The third man", carefully presenting it as quoting someone else:



You know what the fellow said – in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline chrisild

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Re: Coinage of Switzerland
« Reply #53 on: June 03, 2019, 07:45:55 PM »
The cuckoo clock.

Cute bonmot of course but wrong. Then again, why would an American know the difference between Germany, Austria and Switzerland. ;D  What about the Swiss army knife or velcro instead? And instant coffee and zippers were largely influenced or first (mass) produced by Swiss. And, while Harry Lime would not have wasted any thoughts on humanitarian issues ... the Red Cross. Also, when you want to annoy a Swiss, talk about Heiiidiii instead of chemical industry, Jean Tinguely and Paul Klee, or engineering. >:D

As for famous politicians, well, quite a few may still know the controversial Christoph Blocher (SVP). He stood out partly because of his fight against any attempt at a closer CH-EU cooperation ;) but also because he opposed the "consensual policy" principle. Switzerland does not have a head of state or head of government; these are functions of the Bundesrat (Federal Council). More about the background is here for example.

Christian

Offline chrisild

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Re: Coinage of Switzerland
« Reply #54 on: June 03, 2019, 07:56:51 PM »
As for images of the Swiss 5 Fr coins, here is a Swissmint document (PDF, German) about that denomination. Now the edge types ... well, I do not have any pictures myself, but have a look here. Close to the bottom of that page, the "1985" and "1986 bis 1993" types have a link called "vertiefte Randschrift" (pop-up window) with some photos.

Christian
« Last Edit: June 10, 2019, 03:22:22 PM by chrisild »

Offline <k>

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Re: Coinage of Switzerland
« Reply #55 on: June 10, 2019, 12:40:28 AM »