½ Franc Helvetia standing; copper-nickel

Features

Issuer Switzerland
Period Federal State (1848-date)
Type Standard circulation coin
Years 1968-2021
Value 1/2 Franc
0.5 CHF = USD 0.54
Currency Franc (1850-date)
Composition Copper-nickel (75% copper, 25% nickel)
Weight 2.20 g
Diameter 18.20 mm
Thickness 1.25 mm
Shape Round
Technique Milled
Orientation Variable alignment ↺
Number N# 181
Numista type number (https://numista.com)
References HMZ 2# 1206,
Jürg Richter, Ruedi Kunzmann; 2006. Der neue HMZ-Katalog / Band. 2. Die Münzen der Schweiz und Liechtensteins : 15./16. Jahrhundert bis Gegenwart. Gietl Verlag, Regenstauf, Germany.
Divo/Tob19# 309a,
Jean-Paul Divo, Edwin Tobler; 1967. Die Münzen der Schweiz im 19. Und 20. Jahrhundert. Bank Leu AG, Zürich, Switzerland.
KM# 23a,
Tracy L. Schmidt (editor); 2019. Standard Catalog of World Coins / 2001-Date (14th edition). Krause Publications, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA.
And 4 more volumes.
Schön# 27a,
Gerhard Schön; 2020. Weltmünzkatalog / 20. Jahrhundert: 1901-2000 (47. Auflage). Gietl Verlag, Regenstauf, Germany.
And 2 more volumes.
Schön# 57
Gerhard Schön; 2020. Weltmünzkatalog / 20. Jahrhundert: 1901-2000 (47. Auflage). Gietl Verlag, Regenstauf, Germany.
And 2 more volumes.

Series: Helvetia standing series

Obverse

Full-length figure of Helvetia, standing, facing left, wearing toga, holding a spear in right hand, and supporting shield with coat of arms of Switzerland with left hand. 22 stars around, representing the 22 cantons cantons of the Swiss confederation. In 1983, a 23rd star was added for the Canton of Jura, which was founded in 1979.

Script: Latin

Lettering:
HELVETIA
A. BOVY INCᵀ.

Translation:
Antoine Bovy incidit.
Engraved by Antoine Bovy.

Engraver: Antoine Bovy

Antoine Bovy, born in Geneva on 14 December 1795 and died in the same town on 18 September 1877, is a Swiss sculptor and medalist naturalized French.

Designer: Albert Walch

Albert Walch (born 10 October 1816 in Augsburg, died 25 March 1882 in Bern) was a German painter who worked in Bern. Albert Walch was the son of the painter and publisher Johann Sebastian Walch (1787–1840). He received his training from 1833 at the Munich Art Academy with Peter von Cornelius. He then worked at his father's or brother Adolf Walch's (1815–1886) publishing house until he went to Rome from 1847 to 1849. From 1849 he lived in Bern, where he also worked as a teacher at the art school from 1871 until his death. He painted portraits, history and genre pictures, designed festive decorations, coins and handicrafts. The designs for the standing Helvetia and the head of Helvetia for the Swiss coins are his best known to this day.

Reverse

Wreath formed of oak and alpine rose branches tied with a ribbon below.

Script: Latin

Lettering:
½ Fr.
1969

Engraver: Antoine Bovy

Antoine Bovy, born in Geneva on 14 December 1795 and died in the same town on 18 September 1877, is a Swiss sculptor and medalist naturalized French.

Designer: Albert Walch

Albert Walch (born 10 October 1816 in Augsburg, died 25 March 1882 in Bern) was a German painter who worked in Bern. Albert Walch was the son of the painter and publisher Johann Sebastian Walch (1787–1840). He received his training from 1833 at the Munich Art Academy with Peter von Cornelius. He then worked at his father's or brother Adolf Walch's (1815–1886) publishing house until he went to Rome from 1847 to 1849. From 1849 he lived in Bern, where he also worked as a teacher at the art school from 1871 until his death. He painted portraits, history and genre pictures, designed festive decorations, coins and handicrafts. The designs for the standing Helvetia and the head of Helvetia for the Swiss coins are his best known to this day.

Edge

Reeded.

½ Franc (Helvetia standing; copper-nickel) -  obverse

© Saber82

Mints

Bern, Switzerland (1225-date)
Royal Mint, London, United Kingdom
B Bern, Switzerland (1225-date)

Comments

In 1967, the price of silver soared steeply, reaching 260 francs per kilogram in August and 350 francs per kilogram in March 1968.  At this time, the melt value of the 1⁄2 franc pieces was circa 0.73 francs. Switzerland started to experience a severe shortage of cash, especially in the north, where people were exporting coins to Germany to be melted. In spite of strict measures against hoarding and illegal melting, it is estimated that around 100 tonnes of silver in 1⁄2, 1, and 2 franc coins were melted. The crisis alleviated in 1968, when coins started to be minted in a copper-nickel alloy at full capacity, around 1.5 million coins per day. The coins were released on 10 May 1968 and the old silver coins were withdrawn on 1 April 1971.

Nevertheless, the mint in Bern did not have enough capacity to timely substitute around half a billion silver coins in circulation with new copper-nickel pieces. Therefore, the Royal Mint in London was contracted to supplement production in 1968-1970. The production of the 1⁄2 franc coins began on 17 July 1968, after the 1 and 2 franc coins were minted. Around 500 000 early coins produced in London were rejected by the Swiss, who were dissatisfied with the dull grey colour of the Birmingham planchets and the quality of the milled edge. Four Swiss experts were sent to London to ensure quality control.

Coins from 1968 and 1969 without mintmark were minted in London, and they can be easily distinguished by the coins minted in Bern, which bear the B mintmark. At the time, opportunistic collectors tried to sell the coins with no mintmark as rare mint errors, which was not the case, given that 75 412 000 half franc pieces have been minted in London. In order to address these deceiving practices, the mint in Bern dropped its mintmark in 1970. As a result, it is almost impossible to distinguish between the coins minted in Bern and those minted in London in 1970. 24 012 000 pieces dated 1970 were minted in London, and 28 605 000 in Bern. The coins minted in London have a grey appearance, while those from Bern are more reflective.

Source: Ruedi Kunzmann; 2002. "Die Silbermünzenkrise der Schweiz von 1968 und die Tätigkeit der Royal Mint, London". Schweizer Münzblätter, volume 50-52, page 68-72.

Three varieties of this type exist:

22 stars coin variety (KM# 23a.1, Schön# 27a.1):
Obverse: 22 stars
Alignment: coin

© World Coin Gallery

22 stars medal variety (KM# 23a.2, Schön# 27a.2):
Obverse: 22 stars
Alignment: medal

23 stars variety (KM# 23a.3, Schön# 57):
Obverse: 23 stars
Alignment: medal

© World Coin Gallery

See also

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Date Mintage G VG F VF XF AU UNC Frequency
1968  20 000 000 $ 0.28 $ 0.53 $ 0.57 $ 0.63 $ 0.55 18% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1968 B 44 920 000 $ 0.54 $ 0.40 $ 0.57 $ 0.57 $ 1.13 $ 1.02 18% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1969  31 400 000 $ 0.09 $ 0.45 $ 0.55 $ 0.54 $ 0.62 $ 0.93 $ 2.04 20% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1969 B 51 704 000 $ 0.11 $ 0.57 $ 0.57 $ 0.63 $ 0.35 $ 2.35 18% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1970  52 620 000 $ 0.15 $ 0.60 $ 0.57 $ 0.67 $ 2.51 24% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1971  34 472 000 $ 0.33 $ 0.57 $ 0.57 $ 0.55 $ 0.57 $ 0.20 18% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1972  9 996 000 $ 0.57 $ 0.68 $ 1.13 7% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1973  5 000 000 $ 0.58 $ 0.70 4% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1974  45 006 000 $ 0.81 $ 0.53 $ 0.57 $ 0.57 $ 1.44 $ 2.04 20% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1974  2 400 0.3% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment; proof
1975  27 234 000 $ 0.54 $ 0.21 $ 0.57 $ 0.57 $ 0.59 $ 2.07 14% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1975  10 000 0.2% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment; proof
1976  10 009 000 $ 0.53 $ 0.54 $ 1.11 6% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1976  5 130 0.14% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment; proof
1977  19 011 000 $ 0.52 $ 0.52 $ 2.07 10% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1977  7 030 0.16% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment; proof
1978  20 818 000 $ 0.59 $ 0.57 $ 0.52 11% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1978  10 000 0.3% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment; proof
1979  27 014 000 $ 0.28 $ 0.53 $ 0.53 $ 0.51 $ 1.00 13% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1979  10 000 0.17% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment; proof
1980  31 064 000 $ 0.59 $ 0.59 $ 0.59 $ 1.34 $ 2.31 14% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1980  10 000 0.4% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment; proof
1981  30 155 000 $ 0.57 $ 0.57 $ 0.61 $ 1.04 14% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1981  10 000 0.2% KM# 23a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment; proof
1982  30 151 000 $ 0.19 $ 0.52 $ 0.63 $ 0.60 $ 2.04 15% KM# 23a.2; 22 stars; medal alignment
1982  10 000 0.4% KM# 23a.2; 22 stars; medal alignment; proof
1983  22 020 000 $ 0.55 $ 0.57 $ 0.54 $ 2.03 $ 2.06 11% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1983  11 000 0.2% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1984  22 036 000 $ 0.57 $ 0.60 $ 1.00 10% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1984  14 000 0.3% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1985  6 026 000 $ 0.52 $ 0.50 4% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1985  12 000 0.13% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1986 B 5 021 400 $ 0.79 4% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1986 B 10 000 0.12% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1987 B 10 019 100 $ 0.52 $ 0.62 $ 0.53 $ 2.04 6% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1987 B 8 800 0.17% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1988 B 5 020 700 $ 0.52 $ 0.57 $ 0.55 4% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1988 B 9 050 0.14% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1989 B 10 022 700 $ 0.57 $ 0.53 6% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1989 B 8 800 0.2% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1990 B 20 023 100 $ 0.57 $ 0.63 $ 0.57 $ 0.53 9% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1990 B 8 900 0.17% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1991 B 10 026 100 $ 0.54 $ 0.52 5% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1991 B 9 900 0.14% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1992 B 30 020 300 $ 0.56 $ 0.57 $ 0.57 $ 0.53 $ 1.03 11% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1992 B 7 450 0.2% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1993 B 13 016 400 $ 0.44 $ 0.57 $ 0.53 6% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1993 B 6 300 0.11% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1994 B 15 017 300 $ 0.53 $ 0.56 $ 0.53 $ 0.85 7% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1994 B 6 100 0.12% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1995 B 10 018 000 $ 0.64 $ 0.45 5% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1995 B 6 000 0.15% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1996 B 8 017 300 $ 0.52 4% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1996 B 6 100 0.09% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1997 B 6 016 500 $ 0.57 $ 0.54 3% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1997 B 5 500 0.10% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1998 B 6 016 000 $ 0.54 $ 0.79 3% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1998 B 4 800 0.08% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1999 B 5 016 000 $ 0.57 $ 0.34 3% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1999 B 5 000 0.07% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2000 B 4 020 000 $ 0.57 $ 0.62 2% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2000 B 5 500 0.10% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2001 B 6 022 000 $ 0.53 $ 0.72 $ 1.70 3% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2001 B 5 184 0.09% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2002 B 2 024 000 $ 2.04 1.5% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2002 B 4 518 0.12% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2003 B 2 022 000 $ 0.45 $ 1.81 1.5% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2003 B 4 520 0.13% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2004 B 2 026 000 1.7% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2004 B 4 168 0.07% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2005 B 1 024 000 1.0% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2005 B 3 783 0.06% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2006 B 2 025 000 $ 0.74 1.5% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2006 B 4 000 0.07% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2007 B 18 024 000 $ 0.60 $ 0.57 $ 0.54 6% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2007 B 3 415 0.11% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2008 B 25 022 000 $ 0.52 $ 0.57 $ 1.13 7% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2008 B 3 286 0.10% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2009 B 27 022 000 $ 0.57 $ 0.74 $ 1.24 $ 1.13 7% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2009 B 3 115 0.20% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2010 B 27 022 000 $ 0.57 $ 0.74 $ 0.52 $ 1.14 6% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2010 B 4 000 0.14% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2011 B 15 022 000 $ 0.60 $ 0.74 4% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2011 B 4 000 0.10% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2012 B 20 022 000 $ 0.52 $ 0.52 $ 0.54 4% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2012 B 4 000 0.10% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2013 B 23 020 000 $ 0.53 $ 0.53 $ 1.13 4% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2013 B 3 500 0.08% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2014 B 15 000 000 $ 0.70 $ 0.52 3% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2014 B 3 000 0.15% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2015 B 18 026 000 $ 0.53 $ 0.57 2% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2015 B 3 000 0.13% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2016 B 15 028 000 $ 0.54 $ 1.05 1.9% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2016 B 3 000 0.13% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2017 B 14 029 500 $ 1.02 $ 1.05 1.0% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2017 B 2 500 0.10% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2018 B 10 027 000 0.6% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2018 B 2 500 0.2% KM# 23a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2019 B 10 019 500 0.3% 23 stars; medal alignment
2019 B 2 500 0.15% 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2020 B 10 017 500 0.12% 23 stars; medal alignment
2020 B 2 500 0.06% 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2021 B 5 018 500 0.07% 23 stars; medal alignment
2021 B 2 500 0.03% 23 stars; medal alignment; proof

Values in the table above are expressed in USD. They are based on evaluations by Numista users and sales realized on Internet platforms. They serve as an indication only; they are not intended to be relied upon for buying, selling or exchanging. Numista does not buy or sell coins or banknotes.

Frequencies show the percentage of Numista users who own each year or variety among all the users who own this coin. Since some users own several versions, the sum may be greater than 100%.

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