Rare Swiss Gold Coins Issued in 1959 Sold for a Handsome Amount

15 Jun 2019  Sat

An auction house from Switzerland named Peter Rapp AG sold gold 25- and 50-franc coins struck in 1959, in Brilliant Uncirculated condition on 23rd May for 97,600 Swiss francs. Since the coins were never auctioned publically before, it was difficult to derive their market values. The 25-franc coin features a portrait of the revolutionary William Tell with an extended arm, and a crossbow. The design is nicknamed as “Militant Tell” and was inspired by a painting created by Ferdinand Hodler. A Latin inscription translating to “In arms liberty and peace” is also depicted. The design was initially not accepted for its aggressive messaging as Switzerland had a fairly neutral outlook. The 50-franc coin shows a scene of the famous oath taken at the foundation of the Old Swiss Confederacy called Rutlischwur. The design was taken from a painting created by Jean-Georges Vibert.

Switzerland started issuing several gold coins in the 1950s to maintain an international gold standard. The Swiss National Bank minted 15 million gold 25-franc coins and 6 million 50-franc gold coins by the year 1959. This was done mainly to stabilise the price of gold. Other countries considered Dollar as the international key currency under the Bretton Woods system. When the coins were almost about to be circulated, the value of gold increased and the coin’s face value became lesser than its intrinsic value. It wasn’t viable or legal to issue these coins anymore.

Most of these coins were melted between 2006 and 2008. A nominal gold holding is still retained and some of them are a part of the official Swiss gold reserves. Some were even distributed to dignitaries.

Image Courtesy: Peter Rapp AG

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