The Fifty Francs gold coin coin was a denomination of the Swiss Franc which did not happen.
After the earlier gold 10 Fr, 20 Fr and 100 Fr coins were withdrawn from circulation in 1936 - because their intrinsic value was higher than their face value, two new gold coins were planned in the 1950s with nominal values of 25 and 50 francs.
The design was chosen in 1954; the 25 francs coin represented William Tell and the 50 francs coin the Rütli Oath. The reverse was designed by Battista Ratti, and the obverses by Remo Rossi.
The Federal Charter or Letter of Alliance (German: Bundesbrief) is one of the earliest constitutional documents of Switzerland. A treaty of alliance from 1291 between the cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden, the Charter is one of a series of alliances from which the Old Swiss Confederacy emerged. In the 19th and 20th century, after the establishment of the Swiss federal state, the Charter became the founding document of Switzerland in the popular imagination. The Rütli Oath (German: Rütlischwur), depicted on the obverse of the coin, is the legendary oath taken by the representatives of the three founding cantons, Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden, traditionally dated to 1307. It is named for the site of the oath-taking, the Rütli, a meadow above Lake Uri near Seelisberg. It was also shown on a commemorative 5 Francs coin in 1941.
A total of 15 and 6 million pieces of the 25 and 50 francs version, respectively, were minted in 1955, 1956 and 1959. However, in the interest of maintaining the national gold reserves, the coins were never issued into circulation and remained the property of the Swiss National Bank. In a press release of February 2009, it was made public that most of these coins had been melted back into gold bars except for a remainder of 20,000 coins of each type and year (for a total of 120,000 surviving pieces); these remain stored at a bank despite numerous requests by the public to have them released.
None of those coins have ever been available to collectors, although some were distributed to dignitaries at the time in extremely limited quantities.
The obverse shows the value, a large numeral 50, at centre; above that, the denomination abbreviated to FR; below it, a small Swiss Cross.
Under the cross, the date 1959; below that, the mint mark B of the Federal Mint of Switzerland (ex Bern Mint, now known as Swissmint).
All around, the legend CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA (from Latin: Confederation of Switzerland).
In the centre of the reverse, three standing male figures in Medieval clothing, representing the three original founding cantons of the confederation - Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden.
This scene was first depicted on a Bundestaler coin issued around 1546 and designed by medallist Jacob Stampfer, which dates the event to 1296, and the three oath-takers are named as Wilhelm Tell von Ure, Stouffacher von Schwytz and Erni von Underwalden.
The legend around reads IN NOMINE DOMINI, from Latin: "in the name of the Lord".
A small inscription in the exergue reads REMO ROSSI INCT - abbreviated from REMO ROSSI INCIDIT, "engraved by Remo Rossi". Another small inscription at the foot of the right-most figure, J. VIBERT, signifies that the design is based on a painting by Jean-Georges Vibert.