One Franc, Seated Helvetia, Coin Type from Switzerland - detailed information

One Franc, Seated Helvetia, Coin Type from Switzerland (issued 1850 - 1861)
Coin TypeOne Franc, Seated Helvetia

The One 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. 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 one 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 1, 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 (5 grams) and made of 90% silver and 10% copper (1850 - 1857) or 80% silver and 20% copper (1860, 1861).

It was issued between 1850 and 1861 and was initially struck by the Paris Mint. It was demonetised in two stages - 1st January 1869 for coins issued 1850-1857, then 1st January 1878 for coins issued in 1860 and 1861.

In 1875, the obverse was changed to a new design by Albert Walch featuring a Standing Helvetia. This design is still used today; the silver version was issued until 1967 and was demonetised on 1st April 1971, and the current one is copper-nickel.

Obverse
Switzerland / One Franc, Seated Helvetia - obverse photo

The obverse features a sitting 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 (for Antoine Bovy) is in large letters to her left, written counter-clockwise, i.e. the letters face the opposite way to the legend.

Coins minted in Paris (1850, 1851) have two privy marks in the exergue; to the left, a hand pointing right, the privy mark of Charles Louis Joseph Dierickx - director (mint master) of the Paris Mint; to the right, a greyhound head looking right, privy mark of Jean-Jacques Barre, the mint's chief engraver.

In 1857, the engraving was slightly changed by Ferdinand Korn, so coins dated 1857 and later have his signature in the exergue: KORN.

Obverse Inscription HELVETIA
Reverse
Switzerland / One Franc, Seated Helvetia - reverse photo

The reverse shows in two lines the value and denomination - a numeral 1 and a language-neutral abbreviation of the denomination, Fr. above the date: [year], all 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 A of the Paris Mint (1850, 1851) or B of Swissmint (previously known as the Bern Mint or the Federal Mint of Switzerland) from 1857 to 1861.

Reverse Inscription 1 Fr. [year]
EdgeMilledEdge InscriptionNone
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One Franc, Seated Helvetia: Details
CountrySwitzerland
CurrencySwiss Franc
Sub-type ofOne Franc
From1850
To1861
Face Value1 (x Franc)
CurrentNo (demonetised 1878)
Material0.900 Silver
DesignerFriedrich Fisch, Antoine Bovy
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationMedal Alignment (Axis 0)
Size23.200 mm
Thickness1.550 mm
Mass5.000 g
One Franc, Seated Helvetia: Photos
ImageDetails
Coin, Switzerland, Franc, 1850
Copyright: NumisCorner.com
Source
Coin, Switzerland, Franc, 1850
Copyright: NumisCorner.com
Source