The Five Francs coin is a circulating denomination of the Swiss Franc. Given that Switzerland has four official languages, the Franc has three different names: Franken in German, franc in French and Romansh, and franco in Italian. Initially when federal Swiss coinage was introduced in 1850, all "francs" (including the half franc) were full-bodied silver, while the centimes were either billon (low-grade silver) or base metal.
This first version of the five francs coin featuring a seated figure of Helvetia was designed by Friedrich Fisch and engraved by Antoine Bovy. The reverse shows the value - a numeral 5, and a language-neutral abbreviation of the denomination, Fr. within a wreath whose left part consists of oak branches and the right part of various Alpine flowers while the reverse shows the Seated Helvetia figure, consistent with the other Franc coins of the time - the half franc, one franc and two francs. This version was larger and heavier than current coins (25 grams) and made of 0.900 silver and 0.100 copper, as per the specifications of the Latin Monetary Union. It was issued between 1850 and 1874 and was initially struck by the Paris Mint and the Brussels Mint, then by the Bern Mint (now Swissmint).
In 1888, the denomination was changed to a new design by Karl Schwenzer, with the reverse showing a shield within a wreath, and the obverse featuring a portrait of the symbolic figure Helvetia. Unlike the smaller denominations, its metal was not debased.
These older coins of this first type, being of equivalent size and metal content, remained in circulation until both types were demonetised on 1st February 1934, after the introduction of a smaller silver 5 Francs piece which was itself demonetised in 1971.
The current Five Franc coins are smaller and made of cupro-nickel.