The first coin to be called a Swiss franc was a silver, 10-batzen coin minted by the Bern Canton (state) in 1757. By the middle of the 19th century, some 860 varieties of coins were circulating in Switzerland, minted by Swiss Cantons, cities, and religious organizations, although the majority of the coins used for goods and services in the landlocked nation were foreign—this disparity would continue until the beginning of the 20th century.

In 1842, the first in a long series of silver Shooting Festival coins were struck—though ostensibly ceremonial, they were treated as legal tender. In 1849, the coinage and currency was standardized at 100 rappen to each Swiss franc.

Today, some of the most popular Swiss coins include silver ½-, 1-, 2-, and 5-franc coins from the 1850s and ’60s, as well as gold 20-franc coins from the early 1900s through the 1930s.


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