The Five 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.
The normal circulating 5 FR denomination 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 - all of these in silver with the specifications of the Latin Monetary Union, until in 1931 when the coins were made smaller and the content was slightly debased. Starting in 1936, the country also occasionally issued circulating commemorative one-year type 5 Franc coins in silver to mark various important occasions, then - when silver was demonetised in 1971 - the denomination became copper-nickel.
An extensive series of copper-nickel circulating commemoratives were issued between 1974 and 1990 (in parallel with the regular design). For several years after that (1991 to 1998), no commemoratives were issued in this denomination.
In 1999, Swissimint changed the concept and started striking non-circulating commemoratives for collectors only, like the coins issued below - with topics celebrating various aspects of Swiss cultural and national heritage, and not people and events as before. These were denominated as 5 Francs at first, but after only six coins were issued in the first five years, this format was discontinued. Further non-circulating bimetallic coins are now denominated as 10 Francs.
The 2002 Five Francs collector coin celebrates the Escalade festival of Geneva (French: Escalade de Genève) and the 400th anniversary of the event it commemorates.
L'Escalade, or Fête de l'Escalade (from escalade, the act of scaling defensive walls), is an annual festival in Geneva, Switzerland, held each December in celebration of the defeat of an attempt to conquer the Protestant city by the Catholic Duchy of Savoy. Troops sent by Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy, attempted a surprise attack during the night of 11-12 December 1602, but according to legend, were repulsed by a cook who dumped boiling vegetable soup on the invaders before raising an alarm. The celebrations and other commemorative activities are usually held on 12 December or the closest weekend.
Bimetallic 5 Franc coins are legal tender but are issued in small quantities for collectors only and do not circulate.