The Fifty 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.
In regular circulation, the denomination is served by a banknote. These gold coins are non-circulating legal tender made for collectors and struck in proof grade only. They are issued in topical series, celebrating various aspects of Swiss heritage or nature. Swissmint has issued at least one every year since 2001. Initially, both sides of the coin carried a commemorative design; starting from 2004, the obverse is the same and only the reverse changes. (It is worth mentioning that some sources consider it the other way round, and call the commemorative part the obverse; however, we are going with the standard definition, which is that "obverse" is the side which specifies the issuing authority).
The edge is inscribed with the motto DOMINUS PROVIDEBIT (The Lord will provide - a quote from the Bible, Genesis 22, 8), and thirteen stars representing the original thirteen cantons of the Swiss Federation.
This coin commemorates the Saint Bernard dog Barry (1800 - 1812).
Swissmint says about the coin:
In the 11th century, Canons Regular of Saint Augustine founded a hospice as a refuge for travellers and pilgrims on the 2,469 metre-high Great Saint Bernard Pass. Large mountain dogs have been kept at the hospice since the mid-17th century to guard and protect those staying there. The first visual evidence of the presence of mountain dogs dates back to 1695, and the first written document is a hospice memo from the year 1707. The dogs were rapidly adopted as companion dogs and above all as rescue dogs for travellers who lost their way in the snow and mist. The dogs from the Great Saint Bernard Pass saved the lives of a great number of people. The reputation of the Saint Bernards grew throughout Europe in the 19th century thanks to chronicles published in many languages and to reports passed on by word of mouth by the soldiers who had crossed the pass with Napoleon Bonaparte in 1800.
The legendary Saint Bernard dog Barry lived at the hospice from 1800 to 1812. The famous dog apparently saved the lives of more than 40 people. Numerous legends linked to his story have contributed greatly to the good reputation of the Saint Bernard dogs. The Natural History Museum in Bern is devoting a special exhibition to the stuffed, original Barry and his story. The Barry Foundation in Martigny attends to the continued existence of the original Saint Bernard dogs.
In memory of this brave dog, Swissmint issues a 50-franc gold coin designed by the graphic artist and illustrator Maya Delaquis from Gwatt.