Five Francs, Seated Helvetia, Coin Type from Switzerland - detailed information

Five Francs, Seated Helvetia, Coin Type from Switzerland (issued 1850 - 1874)
Coin TypeFive Francs, Seated Helvetia

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.

Obverse
Switzerland / Five Francs, Seated Helvetia - obverse photo

The obverse features a seated figure of Helvetia, the female personification of the Confederation of Switzerland, resting on a plough whose two handles are seen to her right, and some grains; with her left hand she holds a triangular shield resting on the ground which bears the Swiss Cross inside an oval; her right arm is extended toward the left side of the obverse, pointing into the distance. The legend HELVETIA is around above her head. The engraver's name A. BOVY is in small letters to her left, written counter-clockwise (i.e. the letters face the opposite way to the legend).

Obverse Inscription HELVETIA
Reverse
Switzerland / Five Francs, Seated Helvetia - reverse photo

The reverse shows the value, a numeral 5, and a language-neutral abbreviation of the denomination, Fr. above the date [year] within a wreath whose left part consists of oak branches and the right part of various Alpine flowers. The mint mark (A for the Paris Mint in 1850 and 1851, B for the Bern Mint or B. for the Brussels Mint in 1874) is under the ribbon of the wreath.

Reverse Inscription 5 Fr. [year]
EdgeMilledEdge InscriptionNone
Notes

Coins from 1850, 1851 and 1855 have "medal alignment" (same axis of both sides), while coins of 183 and 1874 have "coin alignment" (opposite).

Coin Type: Five Francs, Seated Helvetia - (4) Coins
Advertising
Bullion just a click away! SilverGoldBull.com
Bullion just a click away! SilverGoldBull.com
Five Francs, Seated Helvetia: Details
CountrySwitzerland
CurrencySwiss Franc
Sub-type ofFive Francs
From1850
To1874
Face Value5 (x Franc)
CurrentNo (demonetised 1934)
Material0.900 Silver
DesignerFriedrich Fisch, Antoine Bovy
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationMedal Alignment (Axis 0)
Size37.000 mm
Thickness2.350 mm
Mass25.000 g
Five Francs, Seated Helvetia: Photos
ImageDetails
Coin, Switzerland, 5 Francs, 1851
Copyright: NumisCorner.com
Source
Coin, Switzerland, 5 Francs, 1851
Copyright: NumisCorner.com
Source