½ Franc Helvetia standing; copper-nickel

Features

Country Switzerland
Period Federal State (1848-date)
Type Standard circulation coin
Years 1968-2021
Value 1/2 Franc
0.5 CHF = 0.54 USD
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
Orientation Variable alignment ↺
Number N# 181
Numista (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.

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.

Lettering:
½ Fr.
2007

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 variety (KM #23a.1, Schön# 27a.1, KM #23a.2, Schön# 27a.2):
Obverse: 22 stars
Alignment: coin

© World Coin Gallery

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

© World Coin Gallery

KM# 23a.1 = Schön# 27a.1
KM# 23a.2 = Schön# 27a.2
KM# 23a.3 = Schön# 57

See also

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Date Mintage G VG F VF XF AU UNC Frequency
1968  20 000 000 0.30 0.56 0.60 0.62 0.14 18% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment)
1968 B 44 920 000 0.57 0.42 0.62 0.60 1.68 1.19 18% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment)
1969  31 400 000 0.35 0.55 0.57 0.65 0.98 2.14 20% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment)
1969 B 51 704 000 0.12 0.60 0.60 0.67 0.46 2.48 18% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment)
1970  52 620 000 0.10 0.63 0.60 0.71 2.64 24% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment)
1971  34 472 000 0.35 0.60 0.60 0.58 0.60 0.21 18% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment)
1972  9 996 000 0.60 0.71 1.19 7% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment)
1973  5 000 000 0.61 0.74 4% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment)
1974  45 006 000 0.80 0.60 0.60 0.60 1.39 2.14 20% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment)
1974  2 400 0.3% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment) Proof
1975  27 234 000 0.24 0.23 0.60 0.60 0.60 14% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment)
1975  10 000 0.2% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment) Proof
1976  10 009 000 0.56 0.57 7% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment)
1976  5 130 0.15% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment) Proof
1977  19 011 000 0.55 0.55 10% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment)
1977  7 030 0.17% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment) Proof
1978  20 818 000 0.62 0.60 0.60 11% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment)
1978  10 000 0.3% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment) Proof
1979  27 014 000 0.30 0.60 0.56 0.52 0.83 13% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment)
1979  10 000 0.17% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment) Proof
1980  31 064 000 0.62 0.62 0.62 2.43 14% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment)
1980  10 000 0.5% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment) Proof
1981  30 155 000 0.60 0.60 0.71 1.10 14% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment)
1981  10 000 0.3% KM#23a.1 (with 22 stars; coin alignment) Proof
1982  30 151 000 0.20 0.55 0.71 0.62 2.14 15% KM#23a.2 (with 22 stars; medal alignment)
1982  10 000 0.4% KM#23a.2 (with 22 stars; medal alignment) Proof
1983  22 020 000 0.60 0.60 0.57 2.17 11% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
1983  11 000 0.3% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
1984  22 036 000 0.60 0.63 10% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
1984  14 000 0.3% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
1985  6 026 000 0.55 0.52 4% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
1985  12 000 0.14% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
1986 B 5 021 400 4% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
1986 B 10 000 0.12% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
1987 B 10 019 100 0.55 0.71 0.56 2.14 6% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
1987 B 8 800 0.18% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
1988 B 5 020 700 0.55 0.60 0.56 4% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
1988 B 9 050 0.13% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
1989 B 10 022 700 0.60 0.56 6% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
1989 B 8 800 0.2% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
1990 B 20 023 100 0.60 0.67 0.62 0.56 9% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
1990 B 8 900 0.18% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
1991 B 10 026 100 0.60 0.60 5% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
1991 B 9 900 0.14% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
1992 B 30 020 300 0.59 0.60 0.60 0.38 1.08 11% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
1992 B 7 450 0.2% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
1993 B 13 016 400 0.46 0.83 0.56 6% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
1993 B 6 300 0.12% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
1994 B 15 017 300 0.60 0.59 0.56 0.89 7% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
1994 B 6 100 0.13% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
1995 B 10 018 000 0.68 0.48 5% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
1995 B 6 000 0.16% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
1996 B 8 017 300 0.55 4% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
1996 B 6 100 0.09% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
1997 B 6 016 500 0.60 0.54 3% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
1997 B 5 500 0.11% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
1998 B 6 016 000 0.57 0.83 4% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
1998 B 4 800 0.08% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
1999 B 5 016 000 0.60 3% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
1999 B 5 000 0.07% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
2000 B 4 020 000 0.55 2% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
2000 B 5 500 0.09% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
2001 B 6 022 000 0.56 0.77 1.79 3% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
2001 B 5 184 0.09% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
2002 B 2 024 000 2.14 1.5% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
2002 B 4 518 0.13% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
2003 B 2 022 000 1.91 1.5% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
2003 B 4 520 0.13% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
2004 B 2 026 000 1.8% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
2004 B 4 168 0.07% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
2005 B 1 024 000 1.0% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
2005 B 3 783 0.06% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
2006 B 2 025 000 0.77 1.5% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
2006 B 4 000 0.07% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
2007 B 18 024 000 0.63 0.60 0.83 6% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
2007 B 3 415 0.12% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
2008 B 25 022 000 0.55 0.60 1.19 7% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
2008 B 3 286 0.09% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
2009 B 27 022 000 0.60 0.77 1.31 1.19 7% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
2009 B 3 115 0.2% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
2010 B 27 022 000 0.60 0.83 0.55 1.19 6% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
2010 B 4 000 0.15% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
2011 B 15 022 000 0.63 0.77 4% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
2011 B 4 000 0.11% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
2012 B 20 022 000 0.60 0.60 4% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
2012 B 4 000 0.11% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
2013 B 23 020 000 0.54 0.56 1.19 4% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
2013 B 3 500 0.08% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
2014 B 15 000 000 0.74 0.73 3% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
2014 B 3 000 0.16% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
2015 B 18 026 000 0.60 0.60 2% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
2015 B 3 000 0.14% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
2016 B 15 028 000 0.58 1.11 1.8% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
2016 B 3 000 0.14% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
2017 B 14 029 500 1.11 1.0% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
2017 B 2 500 0.10% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
2018 B 10 027 000 0.6% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment)
2018 B 2 500 0.2% KM#23a.3 (with 23 stars, medal alignment) Proof
2019 B 10 019 500 0.3%
2019 B 2 500 0.16% Proof
2020 B 10 017 500 0.14%
2020 B 2 500 0.06% Proof
2021 B 5 018 500 0.05%
2021 B 2 500 0.02% 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 a measure, but 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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