Information about effigy: Helvetia, Seated

Helvetia, Seated
Switzerland / Five Francs 1850

Helvetia is the female national personification of Switzerland, officially Confœderatio Helvetica, the Swiss Confederation. The name is a derivation of the ethnonym Helvetii, the name of the Gaulish tribe inhabiting the Swiss Plateau prior to the Roman conquest.

Her first depiction on Swiss coinage was designed by Friedrich Fisch from Aarau and engraved by Antoine Bovy. It appeared in 1850 and shows her as a seated figure resting on a plough whose two handles are seen to her right, and some grains; with her left hand she holds a triangular shield resting on the ground which bears the Swiss Cross inside an oval; her right arm is extended toward the left side of the obverse, pointing into the distance. The legend HELVETIA is around above her head. The engraver's name A. BOVY is in large letters to her left, written counter-clockwise (i.e. the letters face the opposite way to the legend).

This design was not accepted well by the Swiss population and was replaced by the figure of Helvetia Standing in 1874.

Helvetia, Seated - Example/s on coins
Switzerland / Five Francs 1850

Seated Helvetia on silver coins

Switzerland / Five Francs 1850

The image was used on silver coinage of Switzerland. In the first years, it was struck in Paris - as evidenced by the two privy marks, one of the Master of the Mint of the Paris Mint, and one of the designer Antoine Bovy who was chief engraver there.

Switzerland / Twenty Francs 1873 Pattern

Seated Helvetia on gold coins

Switzerland / Twenty Francs 1873 Pattern

There was a pattern design for use on gold coins, developed by the Brussels Mint. On it, Helvetia is not so peaceful - she is holding a large sword. This design was not accepted for circulation.

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Helvetia, Seated: Details
Year1850
CountrySwitzerland
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