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Swiss 25 franc coin

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25 francs
Switzerland25fr1955
Coin from 1955
General information
Country

Flag of Switzerland Switzerland

Value

25.00 francs

Years

19551959

Measurements and composition
Mass

5.645 g

Diameter

20 mm

Thickness

1.33 mm

Composition

gold

Appearance
Shape

round

Alignment

medallic

Edge

"DOMINUS PROVIDEBIT"

Obverse

William Tell

Reverse

Value, state title, year, Swiss cross

v · d · e

The 25 franc coin is a coin produced by Switzerland from 1955 to 1959. It was intended to serve as currency money worth its value in precious metal, but like the 50 franc coin of the time, it was never issued. Had the coin been issued, it would have had a face value equivalent to 25.00 Swiss francs.

DescriptionEdit

The coin is composed of .900 fine gold (90% gold and 10% copper), and has a mass of 5.645 grams, a diameter of 20 millimeters, and a thickness of 1.33 millimeters. It is round in shape and uses medallic alignment. Inscribed along the coin's edge is the Latin text "DOMINUS PROVIDEBIT", which translates to English as "the Lord will make provisions". This raised lettering is accompanied by thirteen five-pointed stars (★), representing the 13 cantons of the Old Swiss Confederacy.

Featured in the center of the obverse is an image of William Tell, a famous Swiss folk hero, standing on the ground and lifting his crossbow in the air with his left hand (at the right) while holding his right hand in the air. This illustration was initially painted by Swiss artist Ferdinand Hodler (1853–1918) and later adapted by Ticinese sculptor Remo Rossi (1909–1982) for use on the coin. The Latin legend "IN ARMIS LIBERTAS ET PAX", meaning "in the arms of liberty and peace", is arched along the rim of the coin, the first two words at the left side of the coin between the ground and William Tell's right hand, the third between his hand and crossbow at the top, and the last two between his crossbow and the ground at the right side of the obverse. "F. HODLER PINX", indicating the image was initially painted by Ferdinand Hodler, is engraved in the dirt next to William Tell's left leg. "REMO ROSSI SCULPT.", which signifies Swiss artist Remo Rossi designed the obverse, is written below Tell's feet at the bottom of the coin.

The coin's value is written as "FR 25" in the center of the reverse, the letters and number printed on separate lines and the former being significantly smaller than the latter. A cross similar to that on the flag and coat of arms of Switzerland is present below the value. Underneath the cross is the year of minting and then a "B" mint mark, signifying it was produced at the Swissmint in Bern. Inscribed around the rim of the coin is the Latin state title "CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA" (English: "Swiss Confederation"), which starts towards the left of the date and arches at the top of the coin to end near the opposite side of the year.

In addition to the gold coins produced, a silver pattern coin bearing similar designs was also minted in 1955.

HistoryEdit

Due to the devaluation of the Swiss franc in 1936, the production of gold coins in Switzerland ceased. Thus, a period began when no gold bullion coins were used in the nation. Recognizing the need for such coins, article 3 of the Federal Coinage Act of December 17, 1952, called for gold currency money to be issued once again in denominations of 25 and 50 francs.

During the spring of 1954, 25 Swiss sculptors were selected for a competition to design the 25 and 50 franc coins, and of which 24 participated. The artists were instructed to display the national character of Switzerland on their submissions, and were recommended to use an allegorical figure of Swiss character other than a woman's head. The reason a woman's head was discouraged was possibly because the previous Vreneli coins already used such a design. The competition jury consisted of sculptors Otto Bänninger (1897–1973); Hermann Hubacher (1885–1976); C. Reymond; Remo Rossi; and Alexander Zschokke (1894–1981), as well as W. Grütter, a representative of the Federal Finance Administration; W. von Grüningen, President of the Federal Commission of Fine Arts; and C. Martin, President of the Swiss Numismatic Society. They convened on August 30, but did not find any of the submissions particularly appealing, and instead selected four of the original twenty-four artists, those they believed produced the best designs, to participate in a second competition. However, after the jury met again on November 1, 1954, the second competition was deemed inconclusive and no winning designs were selected. The members felt the design process might be more successful if artists were commissioned to create clearly-defined motifs.

Hans Streuli

Hans Streuli developed new guidelines.

Hans Streuli (1892–1970), head of the Federal Department of Finance and member of the Federal Council, met with eminent authorities of the arts, politics, and science to develop specific guidelines for the designs of the coins. They ultimately decided that an image of a crossbow or the Alpine ibex (Capra ibex) be used on the obverse of the 25 franc piece and one of the Oath be used on the front side of 50 franc coin. Convinced the unity of the two gold coins needed to be notable, Streuli and the luminaries with whom he conferred declared the reverse of both coins needed to be uniform. Ten artists were then selected for a third design competition, but when the jury, consisting of Streuli and two sculptors, convened in February, 1955, the results were once again inconclusive.

Having achieved little success, Streuli finally commissioned Ticinese sculptors Remo Rossi and Battista Ratti (1896–1992) to design the coins in conjunction with each other. The motifs assigned for the obverses of the pieces were the painting of William Tell by Ferdinand Hodler and the Rütlischwur monument designed by James Vibert (1872–1942). Rossi designed the obverses of the coins while Ratti created the reverses. Their final models were submitted to Hermann Hubacher and Alexander Zschokke for review and were later revised. At the end of March 1955 the models were presented to the Federal Council, which agreed with the designs but demanded further revisions. The final coins were later sent to the Federal Council, and after being approved some sample coins were sent to the public.

The public strongly rejected the coins when they were unveiled. The Swiss Peace Council protested against the inscription on the 25 franc piece reading "IN ARMIS LIBERTAS ET PAX". The Basler Nachrichten, a daily newspaper published in Basel, included a story in which a member of the Peace Council stated, "Sollte wirklich in 'In den Waffen Freiheit und Friede' die Quintessenz des Schweizer Staatsgedankens sein?", translating as "Should 'in the arms of freedom and peace' truly be the quintessence of the Swiss state idea?". The pieces were also criticized by artists for using the designs of earlier artwork and failing to reflect a valid statement of the talents of the living generation of artists. Critics also cried out against Rossi for being involved in the first competition jury before he designed the coins, as some believe this gave him an unfair advantage.

After consulting with numismatic specialists, the Federal Council ignored the public protests and proceeded to produce the coins in October of 1955. The first pieces minted at the Swissmint in Bern were sent to the Central Office for Precious Metals Control where they were found to have quality deficiencies. The Central Office advised the mint that the embossing material was cracked and partially peeled off at the surface, but the mint continued producing the coins anyway. It was only after the Office demanded the Swissmint ceased its manufacture of the pieces that production halted. Analyses from Precious Metals Control showed that the gold used contained impurities of antimony, iron, lead, and silicon, causing it to be extremely brittle. Swissmint informed the Swiss National Bank of the inferiority of the gold supplied and requested for the delivery of usable metal. The Swiss National Bank had the impure gold sent to be chemically analyzed, and after a lengthy and costly refining process, usable gold was sent back to the mint for coining.

A total of 15 million 25 franc coins were produced in 1955, 1956, and 1959, with 5 million produced each year. However, the coins were not issued, not because of the public objections, but for economic and legal reasons. The issuance of the coins would have significantly declined the already scarce gold reserves of the Swiss National Bank. In addition, from the time the coins were produced to the time they were ready to be issued, the price of gold had already surpassed the nominal value of the coins. This issuance of the coins at face value was now impossible, and the output at a higher price was inadmissible from a legal perspective.

Currently, the pieces make up a part of the Swiss gold reserves. There have been discussions and requests concerning the sale and distribution of the coins, but all have been rejected to date. In June 2009, the Swissmint stated that, except for 20,000 examples of each denomination and year, all the 25 and 50 franc pieces had been melted into gold ingots by the Swiss National Bank.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

 v · d · e
Swiss franc
Banknotes 5 CHF10 CHF20 CHF40 CHF50 CHF100 CHF200 CHF500 CHF1000 CHF
Coins 1 rappen (HR) • 2 rappen5 rappen10 rappen20 rappen½ batzen1 batzen5 batzen10 batzen20 batzen½ CHF1 CHF2 CHF40 batzen4 CHF5 CHF10 CHF16 CHF20 CHF25 CHF32 CHF50 CHF100 CHF200 CHF250 CHF500 CHF1000 CHF

110 unze¼ unze½ unze1 unze5 unze12 unze₠1₠51 ceros2 ceros5 ceros10 ceros20 ceros50 ceros1 europ2 europ5 europ1 silbertaler20 rond

Miscellaneous Bern MintBasel MintLiechtenstein frankOrell Füssli Arts Graphiques SASolothurn MintSwiss National BankSwissmint

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