The One Hundred Francs coin is a 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. The denomination is thus shown with a language-neutral abbreviation on the reverse: 10 FR.
Initially when federal Swiss coinage was introduced in 1850, all "francs" (from five francs down to a half franc) were full-bodied silver, while the centimes were either billon (low-grade silver) or base metal. In 1883, a 20 francs gold coin was introduced, with a design like the 5 francs coin at the time. It contained 6.45 g gold at 90% purity, conforming with the standard of the Latin Monetary Union. In 1895, the Federal Council decided that the coin should be made with a novel design. A depiction of Helvetia by Neuchâtel artist Fritz Ulysse Landry (1842 - 1927) was selected, which shows a female head with tresses in profile, with a garland of edelweiss and an alpine panorama in the background. The design was widely popular and given the endearing nickname of Vreneli.
The name of the coin could derive from "Verena", a personification of the Confederation of Switzerland in the female effigy, (similar to the French Marianne or the American Lady Liberty) probably modeled by Françoise Engli, shown on the obverse of the coin. The name of the design could also have roots in the tale of William Tell, in which a character named "Vreneli" appears. The coin is also known as a Helvetia from the inscription above the portrait. Helvetia actually connotes two ideas: it is a variation of the official Latin name of Switzerland, Confoederatio Helvetica or Swiss Confederation, and, by extension, it refers to the allegorical figure of the Swiss version of Lady Liberty.
A 10 francs version of the Vreneli was also produced from 1911 to 1922. In 1925 only, a 100 Francs version was issued - differing from the 10 Francs in only the denomination on the reverse and its dimensions; it was never repeated, so this is a one-year type. Only 5,000 example were struck, and of these 1,200 were later re-melted so that only 3,800 remain.
With the devaluation of 1936, the intrinsic value of the gold coins rose above their face value; however, they have never been formally demonetised, even though they were effectively withdrawn from circulation after 27 September 1936.