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 Wilhelm Tell (known in English as William Tell), a famous Swiss folk hero.
The work of Tell is mentioned for the first time in the White Book of Sarnen which is a chartulary written by the civic recorder Hans Schriber from Obwalden around 1470. In addition, as a figure Tell crops up at the time of the Burgundian Wars in the Song about the origin of the Confederation ("Song of Tell" of 1477). In 1507, his story was recorded in the Chronicle of the City of Lucerne by Melchior Russ and Petermann Etterlin and printed for the first time. It also found its way into the Swiss Chronicles written by Heinrich Brennwald of Zurich between 1508 and 1516. Around 1570, the chronicler Aegidius Tschudi condensed the various handed down oral and written versions of Tell's narrative into a saga which he dated 1307.
The popular theatre performances in Central Switzerland also helped spread the Tell legend. The dramatisation of the Tell legend by Friedrich Schiller (the premiere was in 1804) made the story well known initially in Europe and later on worldwide. Schiller drew extensively on the chronicle of Aegidius Tschudi. Schiller's play is the basis for the great opera Guillaume Tell by Gioachino Rossini. Earlier depictions showed Tell in different costumes depending on the spirit of the time. Tell as we imagine him today, i.e. in a herdsman's cowl and with a beard, was influenced by the Tell monument by the sculptor Richard Kissling (1895) in Altdorf and by the famous Tell painting by Ferdinand Hodler dated 1897.