Marksman William Tell is Switzerland’s national hero who has been a part of Swiss folklore and is known for shooting an apple kept on his son’s head with his bow and arrow. Swissmint has issued a 50-franc gold coin featuring Tell, with his right hand raised and left hand holding a crossbow. The inscriptions on the reverse include the Switzerland, 2018 and 10 Swiss Francs. The 11.29 grams .900 fine gold coin was designed by Angelo Boog and has a mintage limit of 4,500 Proof examples.
A chartulary named the White Book of Sarnen was put together in 1470 by the civic recorder Hans Schriber from Obwalden. William Tell’s stories were mentioned for the first time here. A song about the origin of the Confederation called Burgundian Wars or the “Song of Tell” of 1477 also talks about the great hero. The Chronicle of the City of Lucerne by Melchior Russ and Petermann Etterlin also featured this story in 1507. Swiss Chronicles written by Heinrich Brennwald of Zurich between 1508 and 1516 have also described his tales at length.
Chronicler Aegidius Tschudi compiled all the stories in 1570, into a saga that he dated 1307. Central Switzerland has also hosted several plays to popularise these tales. Friedrich Schiller’s play based on the chronicle of Aegidius Tschudi premiered in 1804 and made Tell popular all over the world. The play is the foundation of the great opera Guillaume Tell by Gioachino Rossini. Tell was represented wearing different costumes over the years.
The Tell monument constructed in 1895 by the sculptor Richard Kissling in Altdorf and the Tell painting by Ferdinand Hodler dated 1897 shows the man wearing a herdsman’s cowl, sporting a beard.
Image Courtesy: Swiss Mint