Switzerland: Coin Type Half Franc - detailed information

Switzerland: Coin Type Half Franc (issued 1850 - )
Coin TypeHalf Franc

The Half Franc coin is a circulating denomination of the Swiss Franc. Given that Switzerland has four official languages, it has three different names: Franken in German, franc in French and Romansh, and franco in Italian. It is worth noting that the denomination is a "half franc" and not "50 centimes" for historic reasons, being initially modelled on a denomination of the French franc which was a "demi franc", and to distinguish it from the smaller denominations; initially, 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 half franc coin featuring a seated figure of Helvetia was designed by Friedrich Fisch and engraved by Antoine Bovy. The reverse shows the value, a numeral ½, 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. This original reverse has remained unchanged and is still used on current coins. This version was heavier than current coins (2.5 grams) and made of 0.900 silver. It was only issued in 1850 and 1851 and was struck by the Paris Mint. It was demonetised on 1st January 1869, then for several years there were no half franc coins in circulation.

In 1875, the obverse was changed to a new design by Albert Walch featuring a Standing Helvetia. The metal was somewhat debased to 0.835 silver. This second version of the Half Franc was issued until 1967 and was demonetised on 1st April 1971.

Current Half Franc coins are made of cupro-nickel and weigh 2.2 grams; this version (retaining the original reverse and the second obverse) was first issued in 1968 and is still currently produced.

Obverse
Switzerland / Half Franc - obverse photo

The first version of the obverse (issued in 1850 and 1851 only) 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 large letters to her left, written counter-clockwise (i.e. the letters face the opposite way to the legend).

The second obverse (issued from 1875 to the present) features Helvetia standing on a platform, her head facing to the left. In her right hand (at the left), she holds a lance, and with her left (at the right), she props up a shield with the Swiss Cross at centre. In exergue is the legend HELVETIA. On all coins made from 1874 to 1982, there are 22 five-pointed stars along the rim of the coin, going from the lower left to lower right boundaries of the obverse. These represent the 19 full Swiss cantons of the time and the six half-cantons, which are collectively represented by the three remaining stars. However, when the Canton of Jura broke away from Bern in 1979, the number of stars was no longer accurate. As a result, a new star was added to the right of Helvetia's likeness in 1983. On examples of all dates, the tip of Helvetia's lance extends to the rim and separates the ninth and tenth stars in the sequence. Nine of the stars are engraved up to the lance, two between the lance and Helvetia's face, and 11 or 12 to the right of the central allegorical figure, depending on the year of issue.

The engraver's signature, A.BOVY INCT. (an abbreviation for the Latin text "Antoine Bovy incidit", meaning "engraved by Antoine Bovy), is located around below, displayed counter-clockwise in small letters. It is split in two by the legend: "A.BOVY" appears to the left of "HELVETIA", and "INCT." to the right.

Obverse InscriptionHELVETIA
Reverse
Switzerland / Half Franc - reverse photo

The reverse, which has remained unchanged since 1850, shows the value - a numeral ½, 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.

Below the ribbon of the wreath is the mint mark: the letter A for the Paris Mint (1850 and 1851) or the letter B for Swissmint (formerly known as the Bern Mint, then the Federal Mint of Switzerland) from 1875 until present, with the exception of the years between 1970 and 1985 (incl.) when there was no mint mark, and partly 1968 and 1969, when some of the coins had a mint mark and others did not.

Reverse Inscription1/2 Fr. [year]
EdgeMilled
Edge InscriptionNone
All Coins of Type: Half Franc (112)
Coin NameMintageSymbolLegend
Half Franc 1850 2,250,000 Helvetia, Seated HELVETIA
Half Franc 1851 2,250,000 Helvetia, Seated HELVETIA
Half Franc 1875 1,000,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1877 1,000,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1878 1,000,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1879 1,000,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1881 1,000,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1882 1,000,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1894 800,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1896 28 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1898 1,600,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1899 400,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1900 400,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1901 200,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1903 800,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1904 400,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1905 600,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1906 1,000,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1907 1,200,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1908 800,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1909 1,000,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1910 1,000,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1913 800,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1914 2,000,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1916 800,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1920 5,400,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1921 6,000,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1928 1,000,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1929 2,000,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1931 1,000,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1932 1,000,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1934 2,000,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1936 400,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1937 1,000,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1939 1,001,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1940 2,002,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1941 200,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1942 2,969,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1943 4,573,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1944 7,455,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1945 4,928,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1946 6,817,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1948 6,113,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1950 7,148,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1951 8,530,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1952 14,023,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1953 3,567,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1955 1,320,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1956 4,250,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1957 12,085,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1958 11,558,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1959 12,581,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1960 14,528,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1961 6,906,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1962 18,272,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1963 25,168,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1964 22,720,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1965 17,920,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1966 10,008,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1967 16,096,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1968 64,920,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1969 83,104,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1970 52,620,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1971 34,472,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1972 9,996,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1973 5,000,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1974 45,006,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1975 27,234,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1976 10,009,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1977 19,011,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1978 20,818,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1979 27,014,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1980 31,074,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1981 30,165,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1982 30,161,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1983 22,031,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1984 20,050,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1985 6,038,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1986 5,031,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1987 10,028,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1988 5,029,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1989 10,031,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1990 20,032,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1991 10,036,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1992 30,028,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1993 13,023,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1994 15,023,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1995 10,024,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1996 8,023,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1997 6,022,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1998 6,021,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 1999 5,021,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 2000 4,026,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 2001 6,028,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 2002 2,030,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 2003 2,028,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 2004 2,029,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 2005 1,029,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 2006 2,030,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 2007 18,028,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 2008 25,026,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 2009 27,026,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 2010 27,026,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 2011 15,026,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 2012 20,026,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 2013 23,023,500 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 2014 21,022,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 2015 18,026,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 2016 15,028,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 2017 14,029,500 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 2018 10,027,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
Half Franc 2019 10,022,000 Helvetia, Standing HELVETIA
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Half Franc: Details
CountrySwitzerland
CurrencySwiss Franc
Sub-types Half Franc, Seated Helvetia
Half Franc, Silver
Half Franc, CuproNickel
From1850
Face Value1/2 (x Franc)
CurrentYes
Material
DesignerFr. Fisch, A. Walch, A. Bovy
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationReversed (Coin Alignment, Axis 6)
Size (mm)
Mass (g)
Half Franc: Photos
ImageDetails
Coin, Switzerland, 1/2 Franc, 1851
Copyright: NumisCorner.com
Notes: Reverse, silver (1850 - 1967).
Source
Coin, Switzerland, 1/2 Franc, 2013
Copyright: NumisCorner.com
Notes: Reverse, cupro-nickel (1968 - present).
Source
Coin, Switzerland, 1/2 Franc, 1851
Copyright: NumisCorner.com
Notes: Seated Helvetia obverse (1850, 1851).
Source
Coin, Switzerland, 1/2 Franc, 1957
Copyright: NumisCorner.com
Notes: Standing Helvetia obverse, silver (1875 - 1967).
Source
Coin, Switzerland, 1/2 Franc, 2013
Copyright: NumisCorner.com
Notes: Standing Helvetia obverse, cupro-nickel (1968 - present).
Source