Five Francs 1944 Battle of St. Jakob, Coin from Switzerland - detailed information

Five Francs 1944 Battle of St. Jakob, Coin from Switzerland (demonetised 1971)
CoinFive Francs 1944 Battle of St. Jakob

The Five Francs coin is a circulating 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. Initially when federal Swiss coinage was introduced in 1850, all "francs" (including the half franc) were full-bodied silver, while the centimes were either billon (low-grade silver) or base metal.

Normal circulating coins went through several transformations: with a seated figure of Helvetia on the obverse, then a portrait of Helvetia, then the current design by Paul Burkhard. The earliest coins were issued with the specifications of the Latin Monetary Union until in 1931 when the coins were made smaller and the content was slightly debased to 0.835 silver / 0.165 copper.

Starting in 1936, the country also occasionally issued circulating commemorative one-year type 5 Franc coins to mark various important occasions. These had the same dimensions and silver content as those of the regular type. Together with them, they were demonetised on 1st April 1971 when silver was abandoned and the current CuproNickel 5 Fr. coins became the only 5 Francs in circulation.

The 1944 Five Francs coin commemorates the 500th anniversary of the Battle of St. Jakob an der Birs ("Schlacht bei St. Jakob" in German).

The Battle of St. Jakob an der Birs was fought between the Old Swiss Confederacy and French (mostly Armagnac) mercenaries, on the banks of the river Birs. The battle took place on 26 August 1444 and was part of the Old Zürich War. The site of the battle was near Münchenstein, Switzerland, just outside the city walls of Basel, today within Basel's St-Alban district.

Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (1405 - 1464, later Pope Pius II, until 1439 participant in the Council of Florence), described the battle in vivid detail, telling how the Swiss ripped bloody crossbow bolts from their bodies, and charged the enemy even after they had been pierced by spears or had lost their hands, charging the Armagnacs to avenge their [own] deaths. The fighting lasted for several hours and was of an intensity evoking awed commentary from witnesses. Eventually, the Swiss pike squares weakened, so the commander ordered his men to retreat into a small hospital of St. Jakob. A small reinforcement from Basel was repulsed, and its leader, Henman Sevogel, was killed. The Armagnac troops set their artillery to bombarding the hospital, inflicting heavy casualties on the Swiss. But the Swiss, as the offensive party, categorically refused to surrender and as the Armagnacs moved into the hospital, the remaining Swiss were pressed into the hospital's garden and killed to the last man within half an hour.

Even though the battle itself was a devastating defeat for the Swiss, and a major blow to Bern, the canton which contributed the force, it was nevertheless a Swiss success in strategic terms. In view of the heavy casualties on the French side, the original plan of moving towards Zürich, where a Swiss force of 30,000 was ready, was now judged unfavourably by the French and their troops turned back, contributing to the eventual Swiss victory in the Old Zürich War. The actions of the Swiss was praised as heroic by contemporary observers and reports of the event quickly spread throughout Europe.

The battle became a symbol of Swiss military bravery in the face of overwhelming odds and was celebrated in 19th century Swiss patriotism. The death of knight Burkhard VII. Münch, according to the chroniclers at the hands of a dying Swiss fighter, became symbolic of the outcome of the battle and the strategy of deterring powers of superior military strength from invading Switzerland by the threat of inflicting disproportionate casualties even in defeat, pursued by Swiss high command during the World Wars - and especially relevant at the time when the coin was issued, with World War II still raging in countries neighbouring Switzerland.

MintBern Mint Mint MarkLetter B Total Mintage101,680
Obverse
Switzerland / Five Francs 1944 Battle of St. Jakob - obverse photo

The obverse shows a kneeling wounded soldier, pulling an arrow bolt from his body with his left hand and throwing a rock at the enemy with his right hand.

Below the figure, the legend HELVETIA (the Latin name of Switzerland).

Around right, in small letters the name of the designer: E. WIEDERKEHR.

Obverse Inscription HELVETIA
Reverse
Switzerland / Five Francs 1944 Battle of St. Jakob - reverse photo

The reverse design consists mostly of text. At centre, below a Swiss Cross, in three lines the inscription ST. JAKOB AN DER BIRS MCDXLIV (MCDXLIV is the date of the battle - 1444 - in Roman numerals).

Around, the inscription MORI MALUNT QUAM SUPERARI ("they prefer to die rather than be defeated") is interrupted by the value and denomination 5 FR (on top).

Below the central inscription, the mint mark B of the Bern Mint (now known as Swissmint); under that, the date of issue 1944.

Reverse Inscription 5 FR ST. JAKOB AN DER BIRS MCDXLIV MORI MALUNT QUAM SUPERARI 1944
EdgeInscribed (lettering in relief)Edge Inscription*** DOMINUS PROVIDEBIT **********
Five Francs 1944 Battle of St. Jakob: Known varieties
Variety Specimen
Mintage Issued: unknown
Five Francs 1944 Battle of St. Jakob: References to Information Used
SourceEditionAboutLinkNotes
Swissmint 2017 Mint link
Swissmint 2017 Mintage link
All (117) Coins of Country: Switzerland, Type: Five Francs
Coin NameMintageSymbolLegend
Five Francs 1850 250,000 Helvetia, Seated HELVETIA
Five Francs 1851 250,000 Helvetia, Seated HELVETIA
Five Francs 1873 30,000 Helvetia, Seated HELVETIA
Five Francs 1874 1,596,000 Helvetia, Seated HELVETIA
Five Francs 1888 25,000 Helvetia, Portrait by Karl Schwenzer CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA * 1888
Five Francs 1889 225,000 Helvetia, Portrait by Karl Schwenzer CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA * 1889
Five Francs 1890 305,000 Helvetia, Portrait by Karl Schwenzer CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA * 1890
Five Francs 1891 150,000 Helvetia, Portrait by Karl Schwenzer CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA * 1891
Five Francs 1892 190,000 Helvetia, Portrait by Karl Schwenzer CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA * 1892
Five Francs 1894 34,000 Helvetia, Portrait by Karl Schwenzer CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA * 1894
Five Francs 1895 46,000 Helvetia, Portrait by Karl Schwenzer CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA * 1895
Five Francs 1896 2,000 Helvetia, Portrait by Karl Schwenzer CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA * 1896
Five Francs 1900 33,000 Helvetia, Portrait by Karl Schwenzer CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA * 1900
Five Francs 1904 40,000 Helvetia, Portrait by Karl Schwenzer CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA * 1904
Five Francs 1907 277,000 Helvetia, Portrait by Karl Schwenzer CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA * 1907
Five Francs 1908 200,000 Helvetia, Portrait by Karl Schwenzer CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA * 1908
Five Francs 1909 120,000 Helvetia, Portrait by Karl Schwenzer CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA * 1909
Five Francs 1912 11,000 Helvetia, Portrait by Karl Schwenzer CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA * 1912
Five Francs 1916 22,000 Helvetia, Portrait by Karl Schwenzer CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA * 1916
Five Francs 1922 2,400,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1923 11,300,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1924 182,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1925 2,830,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1926 2,000,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1928 24,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1931 3,520,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1932 10,580,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1933 5,900,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1935 3,000,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1936 War Bond 200,000 Swiss Cross HELVETIA
Five Francs 1937 645,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1939 2,197,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1939 Battle of Laupen 30,600 Swiss Cross CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1940 1,601,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1941 Anniversary of Confederation 100,150 Swiss Cross CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1944 Battle of St. Jakob 101,680 Swiss Cross HELVETIA
Five Francs 1948 416,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1948 Constitution 500,400 Swiss Cross HELVETIA
Five Francs 1949 407,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1950 482,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1951 1,096,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1952 155,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1953 3,403,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1954 6,600,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1963 Red Cross 623,000 Swiss Cross 5 FR CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1965 5,021,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1966 9,016,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1967 13,817,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1968 33,871,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1969 8,637,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1970 6,306,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1973 5,002,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1974 6,007,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1974 Constitution Revision 3,709,000 Swiss Cross 5 FR 1848 1874 1974 CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1975 4,015,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1975 Year of Historic Preservation 2,560,000 5 FR. CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1976 3,007,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1976 Battle of Murten 1,606,900 5 FR CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1977 2,009,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1977 Heinrich Pestalozzi 852,260 Swiss Cross 5 FR CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA 1977
Five Francs 1978 4,411,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1978 Henry Dunant 963,000 5 FR CONFŒDERATIO HELVETICA 1978
Five Francs 1979 4,011,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1979 Albert Einstein - Portrait 935,000 5 FR CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA 1979
Five Francs 1979 Albert Einstein - Formula 937,000 5 FR CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA 1979
Five Francs 1980 4,026,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1980 Ferdinand Hodler 1,001,200 5 FR CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA 1980
Five Francs 1981 6,018,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1981 Treaty of Stans 950,260 5 FR HELVETIA 1981
Five Francs 1982 5,050,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1982 Gotthard Railway 1,170,110 Swiss Cross 5 Fr. HELVETIA 1982
Five Francs 1983 4,033,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1983 Ernest Ansermet 1,087,990 Swiss Cross 5 FR CONFŒDERATIO HELVETICA 1983
Five Francs 1984 3,953,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1984 Auguste Piccard 1,087,990 HELVETIA 5 FR 1984
Five Francs 1985 4,050,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1985 European Year of Music 1,240,400 5 FR CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1986 7,083,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1986 Battle of Sempach 1,157,800 Swiss Cross CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA 1986 5 FR
Five Francs 1987 7,028,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1987 Le Corbusier 1,022,515 CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA 5 FR 1987
Five Francs 1988 7,029,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1988 Olympic Movement 1,094,527 5 FR CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA 1988
Five Francs 1989 5,031,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1989 Henri Guisan 1,339,012 5 FR CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA 1989
Five Francs 1990 1,049,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1990 Gottfried Keller 1,169,412 5 FR CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA 1990
Five Francs 1991 544,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1992 5,035,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1993 5,023,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1994 12,023,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1995 12,024,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1996 12,023,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1997 9,022,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1998 9,021,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 1999 9,021,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2000 7,026,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2001 1,028,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2002 1,030,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2003 1,028,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2004 529,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2005 529,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2006 530,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2007 528,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2008 526,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2009 2,026,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2010 5,026,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2011 3,026,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2012 8,026,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2013 8,023,500 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2014 7,022,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2015 5,026,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2016 4,028,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2017 3,029,500 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2018 3,027,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2019 3,022,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
Five Francs 2020 3,020,000 Coat of Arms of Switzerland CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA
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Five Francs 1944 Battle of St. Jakob: Details
CountrySwitzerland
CurrencySwiss Franc
Coin TypeFive Francs, Commemorative (Silver)
Issued1944
ReverseSwiss Cross
Face Value5 (x Franc)
Mintage101,680
CurrentNo; demonetised 1971
Material0.835 Silver
DesignerEmil Wiederkehr
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationCoin Alignment (Axis 6)
Size (mm)31.4500
Thickness (mm)2.3500
Mass (g)15
OCC IDRNAZ-OGWC-VGAB-OXJL
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Five Francs 1944 Battle of St. Jakob: Photos
ImageDetails
Coin, Switzerland, 5 Francs 1944
Copyright: NumisCorner.com
Source
Coin, Switzerland, 5 Francs 1944
Copyright: NumisCorner.com
Source
Five Francs 1944 Battle of St. Jakob: Catalogue Reference IDs
SourceReference ID
Schön, WeltmünzkatalogSweiz Schön# 40
Krause, Standard Catalog of World CoinsSwitzerland KM# 45