Switzerland: Coin Type Twenty Centimes (Rappen), Billon - detailed information

Switzerland: Coin Type Twenty Centimes (Rappen), Billon (issued 1850 - 1859)
Coin TypeTwenty Centimes (Rappen), Billon

The Twenty Centimes coin is a small circulating denomination of the Swiss Franc. 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 20 Rappen coin, but the English-language publications of the Swiss National Bank and Swissmint prefer the term 20 centimes.

This first version of the 20 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 flower (Alpine rose) branches. The reverse shows the value (only a numeral, no text) within a flower wreath. This original reverse has remained unchanged and is still used on current coins. This version was lighter (3.25 grams) and made of billon (an alloy with a very low quantity of silver), the composition of which varied through the years: 15% silver, 50% copper, 25% zinc, 10% nickel (1850, 1851), 15% silver, 75% copper, 5% zinc, 5% nickel (1858), 15% silver, 65% copper, 10% zinc, 10% nickel (1859).

In 1881, the obverse was changed to a design by Karl Schwenzer featuring the effigy of Libertas. The metal was changed to pure nickel and the coin became heavier (4 grams).

The first version was issued only until 1859 and was demonetised on 30th June 1886.

Obverse
Switzerland / Twenty Centimes (Rappen), Billon - obverse photo

The obverse features 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 flower (Alpine rose) branches. Around above is the legend HELVETIA. Around below, the date: [year].

Obverse Inscription· HELVETIA · [year]
Reverse
Switzerland / Twenty Centimes (Rappen), Billon - reverse photo

The reverse shows the value 20 (only a numeral, no text) within a wreath of flowers (Alpine roses). This original reverse has remained unchanged since 1850 to present.

The mint mark is under the ribbon tying the wreath: BB for the Strasbourg Mint in 1850 and 1851, B for the Bern Mint later.

Reverse Inscription20
EdgePlain
Edge InscriptionNone
Twenty Centimes (Rappen), Billon: Details
CountrySwitzerland
CurrencySwiss Franc
Sub-type ofTwenty Centimes (Rappen)
From1850
To1859
Face Value20 (x Centime)
CurrentNo (demonetised 1886)
MaterialBillon
DesignerCarl Friedrich Voigt
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationSame (Medal Alignment, Axis 0 / Axis 12)
Size (mm)21.0500
Thickness (mm)1.6500
Mass (g)3.2500
Twenty Centimes (Rappen), Billon: Photos
ImageDetails
Coin, Switzerland, 20 Rappen 1850
Copyright: NumisCorner.com
Source
Coin, Switzerland, 20 Rappen 1850
Copyright: NumisCorner.com
Source