The Two Centimes coin was the second smallest circulating denomination of the Swiss Franc (after the One Centime) from its inception in 1850 until it was demonetised in 1978. Given that Switzerland has four official languages, the sub-unit of the Franc has four different names; it is centime (c.) in French, Rappen (Rp.) in German, centesimo (ct.) in Italian and rap (rp.) in Romansh. Some English-language catalogues call the coin a "2 Rappen" coin, but the English-language publications of the Swiss National Bank and Swissmint prefer the word "2 centimes".
Swissmint states that the first version of the coin was designed by Alexander Hutter and engraved by Jean-Jacques Barre of Monnaie de Paris (the Paris Mint), where Swiss coins were struck for the first couple of years after their introduction. This was used for almost a century until, in November 1947, the Swiss Federal Mint (now Swissmint) put out a call for new designs of the one and two centime coins, for which Josef Tannheimer won the first prize. Starting in 1948, these coins were minted with his designs, until they were discontinued in 2006 and 1974 respectively.
Coins carrying the original design were demonetised on 1st February 1952; thus, coins issued in 1866 circulated for 86 years.
The obverse features at its centre within a beaded circle the Swiss Coat of Arms (equilateral wide "Swiss" cross on a rounded triangular shield, thin vertical lines being a heraldic representation of the red background), with a broad-brimmed feathered hat on top, on a laurel branch (left) and an oak branch (right). The legend HELVETIA (the Latin name of the female personification of Switzerland) is around above. The date 1866 is around below.