Five Francs, Burkhard Design, Silver (Small), Coin Type from Switzerland - detailed information

Five Francs, Burkhard Design, Silver (Small), Coin Type from Switzerland (issued 1931 - 1969)
Coin TypeFive Francs, Burkhard Design, Silver (Small)

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.

The first version of the five francs coin featured a seated figure of Helvetia; in 1888, this was changed to a new design 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.

This changed again in 1922, to the current design by Paul Burkhard with a re-designed shield on the reverse and the figure of an Alpine herdsman on the obverse. At that time, the specifications of the Latin Monetary Union were kept.

However, the next transformation of the denomination was in 1931 when the coins were made smaller and the content was slightly debased to 0.835 silver / 0.165 copper.

The final change was in 1968 when silver content was abandoned, and the circulating earlier types were demonetised on 1st April 1971. The current Five Franc coins are smaller and made of cupro-nickel.


The obverse by Paul Burkhard shows a hooded male figure representing an alpine herdsman (and not William Tell as some people think). The legend CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA is around above.

The engraver's signature, P BVRKHARD INCT. (an abbreviation for the Latin text "Paul Burkhard incidit", meaning "engraved by Paul Burkhard), is below left on the figure's shoulder, incuse counter-clockwise in small letters.

The same design is used on current coinage.


The reverse shows the Coat of Arms of Switzerland with a rounded shield and no tincture for the background colour, surrounded by flower wreaths. The value and denomination 5 FR. are above the shield.

The date: [year] is below the shield, and the mint mark B of the Bern Mint is below the date.

The same design is used on current coinage.

Reverse Inscription 5 FR. [year]
EdgeInscribed (lettering in relief)Edge Inscription*** DOMINUS PROVIDEBIT **********

The edge is lettered, carrying the legend DOMINUS PROVIDEBIT (from Latin: God will provide) and 13 stars, in relief.

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Five Francs, Burkhard Design, Silver (Small): Details
CurrencySwiss Franc
Sub-type ofFive Francs
Face Value5 (x Franc)
CurrentNo (demonetised 1971)
Material0.835 Silver
DesignerPaul Burkhard
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
OrientationCoin Alignment (Axis 6)
Size31.4500 mm
Thickness2.3500 mm
Mass15.0000 g