Liechtenstein (officially the Principality of Liechtenstein) is a doubly landlocked German-speaking microstate (4th smallest country in Europe) in central Europe. The principality is a constitutional monarchy headed by the Prince of Liechtenstein, currently Hans-Adam II.
The country is bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east and north. It has an area of 160 km2 (62 mi2). Population is about 38,400 (2019). The principality is divided into 11 municipalities, its capital is Vaduz and its largest municipality is Schaan.
Motto: "Für Gott, Fürst und Vaterland" ("For God, Prince, and Fatherland")
Liechtenstein coins during the history
First coins that were minted as official currency in Liechtenstein was a Thaler that was used in the country from 1728 to 1898. 1 Thaler = 1/2 Ducat = 120 Kreuzer. Later some of the coins were re-struck in Munich, such coins are recognized through the mint letter M.
The following denominations were issued:
- 1728: Under rule of Prince Josef Johann Adam (25 May 1690 – 17 December 1732) 1/2 Thaler, 1 Thaler, 1 Ducat and 10 Ducat. Only one original coin of 10 Ducat is known to exist.
- 1758: Under rule of Prince Josef Wenzel I (9 August 1696 – 10 February 1772) 1/2 Thaler, 1 Thaler (also Konventionsthaler) and 1 Ducat.
- 1778: Under rule of Prince Franz Josef I (19 November 1726 – 18 August 1781) 20 Kreutzer, 1/2 Thaler, 1 Thaler (also Konventionsthaler) and 1 Ducat.
The Ducats were minted in .986 gold, all other coins were minted in silver. All coins bore on the obverse side the right-facing bust of each prince and on the reverse side Coat of Arms.
Under rule of Prince Johann II (5 October 1840 – 11 February 1929) new coins were minted in 1862, a Vereinsthaler in silver and additional trial strikes of the same coin in gold and platinum, both 34 mm in diameter, which were minted using the same dies. The Vereinsthaler was taken out of circulation in 1893.
First currency reform and Austrian Krone
On 26th August 1898, there was a currency reform. From that date and until 1920 Liechtenstein used the Austrian Krone (=100 heller). Under rule of Johann II, silver coins were still issued with denominations of 1 Krone, 2 Kronen (both .835) and 5 Kronen (.900). Coins with denominations of 10 Kronen and 20 Kronen were minted in .900 gold. Unlike the previous coins, the obverse side depicted the left-facing bust of the prince. For all coins, except 2 Kronen coin, patterns were also issued. They can be recognized by the engravers name (Gustave Deloye) under the head of the ruler on obverse side. Krone coins were taken out of circulation on 28th August 1920.
Second currency reform and Swiss Franc
On 26th May 1924, there was another currency reform. Due to the Krone's instability in the post war period Liechtenstein switched to the Swiss franc (=100 rappen). This currency is still the official currency of Liechtenstein today.
Still under rule of Johann II, four different silver coins were minted in 1924 with denominations of 1/2 Frank, 1 Frank, 2 Franken and 5 Franken. Coin design was the same as before on the Austrian Krone - obverse side depicted the left-facing bust of the prince. In 1929 Johann I died after 70 years and 90 days of reign and his younger brother Franz I came to power. He did not have any more of these denominations minted, because there were enough of his predecessor's silver coins in circulation. During his rule, coins with denominations of 10 Franken and 20 Franken were minted in .900 gold in 1930. They depict on the obverse side the bust of the prince, now facing to the right again. In 1938, Franz Josef II became the Prince of Liechtenstein and in 1946 two coins with the denomination of 10 Franken and 20 Franken were issued in .900 gold. These were the last standard circulation coins of Liechtenstein.
Commemorative coins from Liechtenstein
From then on, Liechtenstein Franken were minted only for collection purposes, since the Swiss franc had become the main currency of Liechtenstein. The Swiss franc is currently still legal tender in Liechtenstein as it is in a customs and monetary union with Switzerland. The 1980 treaty between Switzerland and Liechtenstein allows Liechtenstein to mint limited amounts of Swiss francs with a Liechtenstein inscription, but only in the form of commemorative coins (mainly issued for collectors).
In 1952 Franz Josef II issued 100 Franken coin and four years later two denominations of 25 Franken and 50 Franken, all three in .900 gold. The obverse of these coins, for the first time, depicts a Liechtenstein Prince with his wife.
Later issues of commemorative coins
25 francs and 50 francs
(100th anniversary of the National bank)
10 francs and 50 francs
(50th Anniversary of Reign of Franz Josef II)
10 francs and 50 francs
(Succession of Hans Adam II)
10 francs and 50 francs
(200 Years of Sovereignty)