The Ten Centimes coin is currently the second smallest circulating denomination of the Swiss Franc after the Five Centimes (One Centime and Two Centimes denominations were demonetised in 2007 and 1978 respectively). Given that Switzerland has four official languages, the sub-unit of the Franc has four different names; it is centime (c.) in French, Rappen (Rp.) in German, centesimo (ct.) in Italian and rap (rp.) in Romansh. Some English-language catalogues call the coin a 10 Rappen coin, but the English-language publications of the Swiss National Bank and Swissmint prefer the term 10 centimes.
The first version of the 10 centimes / rappen coin was designed by Carl Friedrich Voigt of the Munich Mint (then Royal Bavarian Mint). On the obverse it featured the Swiss Coat of Arms (a rendering quite different from that on the One Centime and Two Centimes denominations released at the same time but designed by Alexander Hutter), on two oak branches. The reverse shows the value (only a numeral, no text) within a wreath of oak branches. This original reverse has remained unchanged and is still used on current coins.
The first version was lighter (2.5 grams) and made of billon (an alloy with a very low quantity of silver), the composition of which varied through the years. It was issued until 1876 and was demonetised on 30th June 1886.
In 1879, the obverse was changed to a design by Karl Schwenzer featuring the effigy of Libertas. The metal was changed to copper-nickel and the coin became slightly heavier (3 grams). This version is still current, and the earliest of these coins are the oldest in the world legal tender still circulating.
Similar to other denominations, the 10 centimes were also issued in different metals throughout their history: brass in 1918 and 1919 (demonetised on 1st January 1924) and this pure nickel type issued 1932 - 1939 which was demonetised on 1st January 2004.