Written on January 22, 2018 • Last edit: February 7, 2019
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General information

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.

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 37,000. The principality is divided into 11 municipalities, its capital is Vaduz and its largest municipality is Schaan.

The flag of Liechtenstein
The Coat of Arms of Liechtenstein

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.

The following denominations were issued:
  • 1728: Under Prince Joseph Johann Adam (25 May 1690 – 17 December 1732) 20 kreutzer, 1/2 thaler, 1 thaler, 1 ducat and 10 ducats

  • 1758: Under Prince Joseph Wenzel I (9 August 1696 – 10 February 1772) in 1/2 thaler, 1 thaler and 1 ducat

  • 1778: Under Prince Franz Joseph I (19 November 1726 – 18 August 1781) in 1/2 thaler, 1 thaler 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 his arms.

Under 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 26 August 1898, there was a currency reform. Liechtenstein used the Austrian Krone (=100 heller) until 1920. Under Johann II, silver coins were still issued with denominations of 1 Krone, 2 Kronen and 5 Kronen. Coins with denominations of 10 Kronen and 20 Kronen were minted in gold. Unlike the previous coins, the obverse side depicted the left-facing bust of the prince. These coins were taken out of circulation on 28 August 1920.

Second currency reform and Swiss Franc

On 26 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 Johann II, four different silver coins were minted in 1924 with denominations of 1/2 franc, 1 franc, 2 francs and 5 francs. 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, gold coins with denominations of 10 francs and 20 francs were minted in 1930. They depict on the obverse side the bust of the prince, now facing to the right again.

Commemorative coins from Liechtenstein

From then on, Liechtenstein Franks 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 and 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 1946 Prince Franz Josef II had two denominations of coins minted, with face values of 10 francs and 20 francs. In 1952 the same prince issued gold 100 francs and four years later two denominations of 25 francs and 50 francs also in gold. The obverse of these last three 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)