2 Francs Helvetia standing; copper-nickel

2 Francs (Helvetia standing; copper-nickel) -  obverse2 Francs (Helvetia standing; copper-nickel) -  reverse

© Robert Maiersperger

Features

Issuer Switzerland
Period Federal State (1848-date)
Type Standard circulation coin
Years 1968-2021
Value 2 Francs
2 CHF = USD 2.18
Currency Franc (1850-date)
Composition Copper-nickel (75% copper, 25% nickel)
Weight 8.80 g
Diameter 27.40 mm
Thickness 2.15 mm
Shape Round
Technique Milled
Number N# 189
Numista type number (https://numista.com)
References HMZ 2# 1202,
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# 304a,
Jean-Paul Divo, Edwin Tobler; 1967. Die Münzen der Schweiz im 19. Und 20. Jahrhundert. Bank Leu AG, Zürich, Switzerland.
KM# 21a,
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# 29a,
Gerhard Schön; 2020. Weltmünzkatalog / 20. Jahrhundert: 1901-2000 (47. Auflage). Gietl Verlag, Regenstauf, Germany.
And 2 more volumes.
Schön# 59
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 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:
2 Fr.
1968
B

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: Friedrich Fisch

Edge

Reeded.

Mints

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

Comments

Switch from silver to copper-nickel
This copper-nickel 2 franc coin replaced the silver pieces minted between 1874-1967. 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 silver 2 franc pieces was circa 2.92 francs, exceeding their face value. Switzerland started to experience a severe shortage of cash, especially in the north, where coins were exported to Germany to be melted. In spite of strict measures against hoarding and melting coins, around 100 tonnes of silver in 1⁄2, 1, and 2 franc coins were melted. The crisis alleviated in 1968, when coins in copper-nickel started to be minted in double shifts in Bern, around 1.5 million per day. The coins were released on 10 May 1968 and the old silver coins were withdrawn on 1 April 1971.

Mints
The mint in Bern did not have enough capacity to timely substitute around half a billion silver coins in circulation in 1968 with new copper-nickel pieces. Therefore, the Royal Mint in London was contracted to supplement production in 1968-1970. The 2 franc coins dated 1968 were produced between 11-17 July. Around 500 000 early coins produced in London were rejected by the Swiss, who were dissatisfied with the dull grey colour and the quality of the milled edge. Four Swiss experts were sent to London to ensure quality control.

Mintmarks
Coins dated 1968 without mintmark were minted in London, and they can be easily distinguished from 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 10 000 000 two franc pieces had already been minted in London. In order to address these deceiving practices, the mint in Bern dropped the B mintmark after 1970 and until 1985.

Alignment
Coins dated 1968-1981 have coin alignment.
Coins dated after 1982 have medal alignment.

Helvetia
Helvetia (after the neo-Latin name of Switzerland) is an allegorical female figure symbolizing the Swiss Confederation. Helvetia is a derivation of the ethnonym Helvetii, the name of the Gaulish tribe inhabiting the Swiss Plateau before the Roman conquest. The first documented use of the allegory dates from 1642, in Matthäus Merian's "Topographia", after which it gradually replaced the earlier convention of representing Switzerland as a bull.

Sources
Georg Kreis; 1991. "Helvetia - through the ages. The story of a national figurehead". Verlag Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zürich. ISBN 3858233161.
Ruedi Kunzmann; 2002. "Die Silbermünzenkrise der Schweiz von 1968 und die Tätigkeit der Royal Mint, London". Schweizer Münzblätter, volume 50-52, page 68-72.

See also

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Date Mintage G VG F VF XF AU UNC Frequency
1968  10 000 000 $ 2.03 $ 2.21 $ 2.09 $ 2.16 19% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1968 B 31 588 000 $ 2.03 $ 1.92 $ 2.09 $ 2.11 $ 2.12 23% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1969 B 17 296 000 $ 1.74 $ 2.15 $ 2.38 $ 2.65 $ 2.32 19% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1970  10 350 000 $ 2.12 $ 2.24 $ 2.26 $ 2.12 13% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1972  5 003 000 $ 1.93 $ 2.21 $ 1.94 7% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1973  5 996 000 $ 2.15 $ 2.21 $ 2.12 $ 6.97 8% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1974  15 007 000 $ 2.07 $ 2.22 $ 2.32 15% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1974  2 400 0.3% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment; proof
1975  7 051 000 $ 2.09 $ 2.32 $ 2.65 9% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1975  10 000 0.3% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment; proof
1976  5 006 000 $ 2.21 $ 2.16 7% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1976  5 130 0.17% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment; proof
1977  2 003 000 $ 2.10 $ 2.84 3% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1977  7 030 0.13% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment; proof
1978  12 802 000 $ 2.09 $ 2.32 $ 2.83 12% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1978  10 000 0.2% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment; proof
1979  10 985 000 $ 2.08 $ 2.19 $ 2.32 $ 2.11 $ 5.80 11% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1979  10 000 0.3% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment; proof
1980  10 001 000 $ 1.16 $ 2.09 $ 2.09 $ 2.32 10% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1980  10 000 0.3% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment; proof
1981  13 852 000 $ 2.03 $ 2.28 $ 2.21 $ 3.25 12% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment
1981  10 000 0.3% KM#21a.1; 22 stars; coin alignment; proof
1982  5 912 000 $ 2.09 $ 2.32 $ 2.61 7% KM#21a.2; 22 stars; medal alignment
1982  10 000 0.3% KM#21a.2; 22 stars; medal alignment; proof
1983  3 034 000 $ 1.86 $ 2.32 4% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1983  11 000 0.2% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1984  2 043 000 $ 2.77 $ 5.36 3% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1984  14 000 0.2% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1985  2 034 000 $ 2.09 $ 2.32 4% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1985  12 000 $ 4.64 0.2% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1986 B 3 032 000 $ 2.41 $ 2.46 $ 6.28 4% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1986 B 10 000 0.19% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1987 B 8 028 000 $ 2.05 $ 2.32 $ 2.32 7% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1987 B 8 800 0.2% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1988 B 10 029 000 $ 3.13 $ 2.32 $ 4.21 8% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1988 B 9 000 0.2% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1989 B 8 031 000 $ 2.16 $ 2.26 $ 2.30 7% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1989 B 8 800 0.3% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1990 B 5 045 000 $ 2.09 $ 2.18 $ 2.30 5% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1990 B 8 900 0.2% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1991 B 12 036 000 $ 2.25 $ 2.11 9% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1991 B 9 900 0.19% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1992 B 10 028 000 $ 2.17 $ 2.21 $ 2.21 $ 2.32 7% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1992 B 7 450 0.2% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1993 B 13 050 000 $ 2.50 $ 2.32 $ 2.12 9% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1993 B 6 200 0.19% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1994 B 16 023 000 $ 2.90 $ 2.32 $ 2.14 $ 2.32 11% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1994 B 6 100 0.3% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1995 B 7 024 000 $ 2.09 $ 2.09 $ 2.32 $ 2.81 6% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1995 B 6 100 0.2% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1996 B 5 023 000 $ 2.55 $ 2.21 5% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1996 B 6 100 0.16% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1997 B 5 022 000 $ 2.18 $ 2.32 $ 2.32 4% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1997 B 5 500 0.12% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1998 B 4 021 000 $ 2.32 $ 3.48 $ 5.42 4% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1998 B 4 800 0.13% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
1999 B 3 021 000 $ 2.09 $ 2.72 3% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
1999 B 5 000 0.11% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2000 B 3 026 000 $ 2.15 3% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2000 B 5 500 0.09% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2001 B 4 028 000 $ 2.09 $ 2.11 $ 2.90 4% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2001 B 6 000 0.17% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2002 B 1 030 000 1.5% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2002 B 6 000 0.15% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2003 B 1 027 500 $ 2.32 1.5% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2003 B 5 500 0.17% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2004 B 1 027 000 1.4% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2004 B 5 000 0.09% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2005 B 2 028 500 $ 2.32 $ 2.74 2% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2005 B 4 500 0.09% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2006 B 7 028 500 $ 2.18 $ 2.17 5% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2006 B 4 000 0.10% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2007 B 16 000 000 $ 2.32 $ 2.32 $ 4.06 7% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2007 B 4 000 0.19% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2008 B 6 000 000 $ 2.90 4% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2008 B 4 000 0.15% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2009 B 8 000 000 $ 2.47 $ 4.02 4% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2009 B 4 000 0.12% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2010 B 9 000 000 $ 2.25 4% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2010 B 4 000 0.17% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2011 B 7 000 000 $ 2.09 $ 4.34 4% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2011 B 4 000 0.16% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2012 B 7 000 000 $ 2.12 $ 3.48 4% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2012 B 4 000 0.17% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2013 B 7 000 000 $ 2.07 $ 2.32 4% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2013 B 3 500 0.10% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2014 B 7 000 000 $ 2.17 $ 2.31 $ 3.48 4% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2014 B 3 000 0.19% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2015 B 11 026 000 $ 2.15 $ 2.50 2% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2015 B 3 000 0.19% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2016 B 8 028 000 $ 3.48 1.3% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2016 B 3 000 0.13% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2017 B 7 029 500 $ 2.14 $ 3.48 0.8% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2017 B 2 500 $ 5.20 0.12% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2018 B 5 027 000 $ 4.20 0.6% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment
2018 B 2 500 0.18% KM#21a.3; 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2019 B 5 019 500 0.2% 23 stars; medal alignment
2019 B 2 500 $ 5.80 0.16% 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2020 B 5 017 500 0.15% 23 stars; medal alignment
2020 B 2 500 0.07% 23 stars; medal alignment; proof
2021 B 3 018 500 0.08% 23 stars; medal alignment
2021 B 2 500 0.03% 23 stars; medal alignment; proof

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