Swiss Francs are gold coins produced by the Swiss Mint in Bern. The coins were issued between 1883 and 1949. They were designed by Fritz Landry, a Swiss medallist and sculptor. His signature appears below the portrait of the lady Helvetia - the personification of Switzerland.
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The origin of Vreneli:
Vreneli is an informal name for the range of Swiss gold coins, derived from a character in The Tale of William Tell. There were 10 Franc (half), 20 Franc, and 100 Franc varieties.
The English name for these coins is the Helvetia Head, in a case of say what you see. The Helveti were the chief tribe in the region we now know as Switzerland, before the Roman Empire’s expansion claimed the region, and the Romans renamed the area Helvetia in their honour.
Vreneli ceased to be legal tender by 1936 as economic depression made the gold value of the coins greater than the value set by the Swiss National Bank. As such, production stopped, with only 175,000 of the Francs produced that year.
Following the Second World War, the Swiss Mint issued 20 million restruck coins in 1945, 1946, and 1947. These were all dated 1935 because the matched the official specifications, and they bore the letters L and B, which flanked the date. The L was to indicate the restrike, while the B stood for Bern.
Further restriking took place in 1947 (9.2 million) and 1949 (10 million) without the restrike markings. This was because it was alleged by the Allied Forces post-war that the Swiss banks had sold Nazi gold it was holding back to the Swiss National Bank, who in turn had restruck them as Vreneli to hide their origins. This fact was not proved, but in 1946 the Swiss government paid 250 million francs as compensation for the retained holdings of the German Reich.
Coin minting locations can be determined by a small letter on the reverse of the coin. B is the most common, for Bern – home of the Swiss Mint, but B. is for Brussels, AB and BB are for Strasbourg, and A is for Paris where additional die work was performed.
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