The Swiss Red Cross (SRC) celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2016, and the Swiss Mint is memorializing the occasion on a 20-franc coin. The silver commemorative coin was released on January 28, 2016, and designed by world-renowned artist Marc Roulin, whose career includes a six-year stint as a newspaper cartoonist, many acrylic paintings and engravings, and graphic art.
The coin includes insignias and phrases honoring the SRC, which formed three years after the International Committee of the Red Cross was founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1863. The SRC, founded in 1866, was the first national organization spawned from the International Red Cross. Its official mission is to serve “as an impartial, neutral, and independent organization whose exclusive humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide then with assistance.”
The Swiss Red Cross was established on July 17, 1866 by Swiss Federal Councillor Jakob Dubs, and first saw action as a military auxiliary during the invasion of the Bourbaki army in 1871 during the Franco-Prussian War. The Swiss Red Cross waged efforts against the Spanish flu epidemic that stormed through Switzerland and much of Europe during World War I in 1918. During World War II in the early 1940s, the SRC was instrumental in providing care for soldiers and civilians in Switzerland. Today, the Swiss Red Cross is engaged in helping people throughout Europe and the rest of the world.
The obverse of the Swiss Red Cross 150th Anniversary 20 Franc coin shows the hand of an SRC worker reaching out to a bandaged, wounded hand. A SRC flag mounted from a flagpole is seen waving in the background, and 10 repeating lines of text read “150 – SCHWEIZERISCHES ROTES KREUZ – 150 – CROIX ROUGE SUISSE”. The first phrase of text is the German translation of “Swiss Red Cross,” while the second phrase is in French. German and French are among the four official languages of Switzerland; the other two are Italian and Romansh.
Arcing along the top rim of the obverse is the inscription SRK CRS 1866-2016, which refers to the acronyms of the Swiss Red Cross in both German and French, respectively, as well as the founding date of the organization (1866) and the 150th anniversary year (2016). On the right side of the obverse, between the two o’clock and three o’clock positions just above the wounded hand is inscribed M. ROULIN, a reference to the coin’s designer.
An interesting note about both of the hands depicted on the coin is that they appear caricatured in size as compared to the width of each hand’s arm. This design attribute appears to emphasize the mission of the Swiss Red Cross, which is to offer a helping hand to those in need.
The reverse bears a clean design dominated by inscriptions, including two lines of arcing text. Switzerland’s official name in Latin, CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA, is staggered in appearance across both lines of curved text near the upper three-quarters of the rim. The date 2016 is located along the outer arc of text around the four o’clock position of the rim. A large numeral “20” is located on the center bottom of the coin, above the coin’s tiny B mintmark (Bern). At the center base of the reverse is FR, a reference to the coin’s 20-franc denomination.
The nation’s iconic cross symbol, which is also used as part of the Red Cross logo, is located near the upper center of the coin just below the “H” in HELVETICA.
The smooth edge of the coin features the Latin inscription DOMINUS PROVIDEBIT (“The Lord will provide”).
Designer(s): Marc Roulin is an internationally-known cartoonist, illustrator and graphic artist.
|Year Of Issue:||2016|
|Mintage:||30,000 (Uncirculated), 5,000 (Proof)|
|Edge:||Smooth / Inscribed|
|OBV Designer||Marc Roulin|
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