20 Francs

Features

Country Switzerland
Period Federal State (1848-date)
Type Standard circulation coin
Years 1897-1949
Value 20 Francs / Franken / Franchi (20 CHF)
Currency Franc (1850-date)
Composition Gold (.900)
Weight 6.45 g
Diameter 21 mm
Thickness 1.25 mm
Shape Round
Orientation Coin alignment ↑↓
Demonetized 07-29-1944
References KM# 35
  • Tracy L. Schmidt (editor); 2019. Standard Catalog of World Coins, 2001-Date (14th edition). Krause Publications, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA. ISBN 9781440248979.
  • Thomas Michael (editor), Tracy L. Schmidt (editor); 2016. Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700 (7th edition). Krause Publications, Iola, Wisconsin, USA. ISBN 9781440248573.
  • Thomas Michael (editor); 2016. Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800 (7th edition). Krause Publications, Iola, Wisconsin, USA. ISBN 9781440247064.
  • Tracy L. Schmidt (editor); 2019. Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900 (9th edition). Krause Publications, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA. ISBN 9781440248955.
  • Tracy L. Schmidt (editor); 2019. Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1901-2000 (47th edition). Krause Publications, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA. ISBN 9781440248962.

Obverse

Bust of a young woman from Oberhasli facing left, with tresses and a garland of edelweiss. Mountains in the background.

Lettering: HELVETIA

Engraver: Fritz Ulisse Landry

Reverse

Shield bearing cross, within oak branches, divided value

Lettering:
20 FR
1935 B

Edge

Raised Stars (KM#35.1)

Lettering: AD LEGEM ANNI MCMXXXI (KM#35.2)

20 Francs -  obverse

Mint

B Bern, Switzerland (1225-date)

Comments

Swiss gold coins were never officially demonetized, but in 1936, the franc was devalued against gold, so their bullion value became higher than their legal value. In 1944, they became subject to turnover tax, which was a de facto demonetization.

In 1895, the Federal Council decided to adopt a new design for the 20 franc gold coin. From a total of 21 suggestions, a depiction of Helvetia by Fritz Ulysse Landry (1842–1927, Neuchâtel) won second place. His Helvetia figure was criticized as too young and romantic, and the alpine panorama as too intrusive. Landry revisited his design and the revised design was chosen for the coin.

These coins are colloquially referred to as Goldvreneli. The name is a Swiss German affectionate diminutive of the female given name "Verena". This name, in its diminutive form also used as a pars pro toto for female youths, is popular in Switzerland.

Varieties of this type:

• In 1897, an additional 29 coins were minted of Gondo gold from the former gold mine in Gondo, Canton Valais. The alloy of these coins contains not only copper but also silver, which results in a lighter color. In addition, a small cross is punched in the middle of the Swiss cross on these coins:
⸰ Example of this variety:

© Sincona AG
Auctioned by Sincona AG, Auction 14, 17 October 2013, Lot 3561, sold for 120,000 CHF.

• About 20 million coins dated "L 1935 B", with the "L" indicating "lingot" (bullion) were re-struck in 1945 (3,500,000), 1946 (7,108,813) and 1947 (9,400,000). An additional 9,200,000 coins contemporaneously struck and dated in 1947 were also produced and are distinguished by the mint mark "B". There were no regular strikes produced in the years 1945 and 1946.

© Sincona AG

Errors of this type:

• Richter #14 (6.45 g) - incuse impression of the obverse on the reverse.
⸰ Example of this error:

© Hess Divo
Auctioned by Hess-Divo AG, Auction 315, 28 October 2009, Lot 182, estimated at 1,000 CHF.

• Richter #A69 - L1935, 75° axis rotation.
⸰ Example of this error:

© Sincona AG
Auctioned by Sincona AG, Auction 35, 26 October 2016, Lot 5684, sold for 750 CHF.

• Richter #A86 - 1949, 45° axis rotation.
⸰ Example of this error:

© Sincona AG
Auctioned by Sincona AG, Auction 35, 26 October 2016, Lot 5690, sold for 850 CHF.

• 21 instead of 22 stars on the edge.
⸰ Example of Richter #B23 - 1930:

© Sincona AG
Auctioned by Sincona AG, Auction 35, 26 October 2016, Lot 5679, sold for 650 CHF.
⸰ Example of Richter #B33 - L1935:

© Sincona AG
Auctioned by Sincona AG, Auction 35, 26 October 2016, Lot 5685, sold for 650 CHF.

See also

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Date Mintage VG F VF XF AU UNC Frequency
1897 B 400,000 4% KM#35.1
1897 B 29 0.6% KM#35.1 (with a small cross in the center of the swiss cross) very rare
1898 B 400,000 3% KM#35.1
1899 B 300,000 3% KM#35.1
1900 B 400,000 3% KM#35.1
1901 B 500,000 4% KM#35.1
1902 B 600,000 4% KM#35.1
1903 B 200,000 3% KM#35.1
1904 B 100,000 1.7% KM#35.1
1905 B 100,000 2% KM#35.1
1906 B 100,000 2% KM#35.1
1907 B 150,000 2% KM#35.1
1908 B 355,000 4% KM#35.1
1909 B 400,000 364.81 4% KM#35.1
1910 B 375,000 4% KM#35.1
1911 B 350,000 263.89 393.12 4% KM#35.1
1912 B 450,000 4% KM#35.1
1913 B 700,000 271.17 5% KM#35.1
1914 B 700,000 316.17 6% KM#35.1
1915 B 750,000 316.17 7% KM#35.1
1916 B 300,000 4% KM#35.1
1922 B 2,783,678 252.93 304.01 377.30 14% KM#35.1
1925 B 400,000 4% KM#35.1
1926 B 50,000 1.9% KM#35.1
1927 B 5,015,000 364.81 291.85 262.53 352.94 22% KM#35.1
1930 B 3,371,764 261.12 14% KM#35.1
1935 B 175,000 301.57 303.63 304.01 13% KM#35.1
1935 LB 20,008,813 341.12 352.65 275.58 328.33 38% KM#35.1 (struck at a later date)
1947 B 9,200,000 311.02 333.85 307.67 26% KM#35.2 (Edge Lettering: AD LEGEM ANNI MCMXXXI)
1948 B 0.9% KM#35.2 unconfirmed
1949 B 10,000,000 289.41 332.53 396.74 14% KM#35.2 (Edge Lettering: AD LEGEM ANNI MCMXXXI)

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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Numista Rarity index: 15 Search tips
This index is based on the data of Numista members collections. It ranges from 0 to 100, 0 meaning a very common coin or banknote and 100 meaning a rare coin or banknote among Numista members.

Bullion value: 335.31 USD Search tips
This value is given for information purpose only. It is based on a price of gold at 57,763 USD/kg. Numista does not buy or sell coins or metal.

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