Swiss Coin Newsletter

February 2011


New commemorative coins

The subjext of this year's bimetallic 10 francs is the Onion Market ("Zibelemärit" in Bernese German) in Bern. It is a traditional market which takes place every fourth Monday in November.

The new 20 francs silver coin commemorates Swiss author Max Frisch.

Scheduled for later this year are 20 francs "Pilatus Railway" and 50 francs "Schellenursli" (a famous Swiss children's book).

For a full list of Swiss commemorative coins, refer to the Wikipedia article Gedenkmünzen der Schweiz.

New circulating coins

The need for circulation coins seems to be still very high, as the mintage figures below indicate. However, no 2011 dated coins have entered circulation yet.

2009 2010 2011
5 ct. 45'000'000 44'000'000 50'000'000
10 ct. 35'000'000 42'000'000 35'000'000
20 ct. 32'000'000 18'000'000 20'000'000
1/2 Fr. 27'000'000 27'000'000 15'000'000
1 Fr. 11'000'000 15'000'000 15'000'000
2 Fr. 8'000'000 9'000'000 7'000'000
5 Fr. 2'000'000 5'000'000 3'000'000

Swiss coin trivia

In the last issue of this newsletter, I was discussing variants of the cupro-nickel 5 francs coins and reminded you that KM numbering can't always be trusted. This is also the case for other coin types. If you look at the listings for the 1 and 2 rappen coins with the old design (KM# 3.x and 4.x), you'll notice that a thin cross and a thick cross variety is mentioned. But the listings are confuse and not even consistent accross the 19th century and the 20th century edition. Therefore I compiled a list (see below) that shows which dates feature which cross.

Thin crossThick cross

The difference between the two crosses is not just a whim of the coin's designer. In 1889, it was determined by law that the length of the cross' arms must exceed their width by one sixth (that is, the length:width ratio is 7:6). Prior to that, the arms usually were shown as perfect squares. With some delay, the changed design was adapted for the coins. But you'll notice that the "new" design has already been in use for a short time in 1850-1853. And if you measure the thin cross carefully, you'll notice indeed that it doesn't exactly follow the law; it's length:with ratio is actually closer to 4:5, that is, the arms are slightly too long.

While the thin/thick cross variety is well-known to the catalog authors (although they don't list it very carefully), no catalog that I know of has listed the thin/thick planchet variety of the 2 rappen coin, until the last December issue of NumisPost featured an article about the surprising discovery that some 2 rappen coins weight 2.5g, while others weight 3g. On my Swiss coin list, I have always given both weights, although I can't rembember where I got this information from. If I only had looked into this matter more carefully, and I might have been credited with this discovery...

1 rappen cross types

1850-1851 thin, 1853 both (thin very rare), 1855 thin, 1856-1890 thick, 1891 both, 1892-1946 thin

2 rappen cross types

1850-1851 thin, 1866-1890 thick, 1893-1946 thin

2 rappen weights

1850-1931 2.5g, 1932-1941 3g

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