New Swiss Commemorative Coins Honor William Tell and Steamship La Suisse

By The Federal Mint Swissmint ……

William Tell 50 Franc Gold Coin

On April 26, 2018, the Swiss Federal Mint Swissmint launched two new special coins for collectors and lovers. The gold coin “Wilhelm Tell” is dedicated to the most famous Swiss, while the Mint continues its three-part “Swiss steamships” series, launched in 2017, with a silver coin commemorating the steamboat La Suisse.

The story of Tell was first published in the “White Book of Sarnen” around 1470, written by the Obwalden writer Hans Schriber. In addition, the figure of Tell can be found at the time of the Burgundian Wars in the “Song of the Creation of the Confederation” (Tellenlied from 1477). His story was printed for the first time in 1507 in the Lucerne Chronicles of Melchior Russ and Petermann Etterlin. He was also included in the 1508-1516 Swiss chronicle of Heinrich Brennwald. The chronicler Aegidius Tschudi condensed around 1570 the various surviving oral and written versions of the Tell narrative in to one legend, which he dated to the year 1307.

The dissemination of the Tell legend also informed folk theater performances in central Switzerland. Its dramatization by Friedrich Schiller (first performed in 1804) made the story known to the rest of Europe, and later the world. Schiller relied largely on the chronicle of Aegidius Tschudi.

Schiller’s play in turn formed the basis for the Grand opéra Guillaume Tell from Gioachino Rossini. Early Tell depictions showed Tell according to Zeitgeist in different garments. Tell as we imagine it today, d. H. in Sennenkutte with hood and beard, was characterized by the Tell monument of the sculptor Richard Kissling (1895) in Altdorf as well as the famous picture of Ferdinand Hodler’s from 1897. The latter also served as a template for the new commemorative coin and thus proves to the great Swiss painter whose day of death is in This year marks the centenary, reference.

The new gold coin was designed by illustrator Angelo Boog.

Swiss Steamships: La Suisse 20 Franc Silver Coin

When the ship was commissioned by the Sulzer Brothers in 1908, the Belle Epoque euphoria in Switzerland has just reached its peak. The paddle steamer La Suisse is the largest and most elegant of all Swiss steamboats. It has a capacity of 850 crew and passengers, a length of 78.5 meters, a width of 15.9 meters and is powered by a sloping 1,400 hp (1,030 kW) Sulzer two-cylinder hot steam compound engine.

The steamboat was designated as a cultural monument of national importance in 2011.

Over the years, the steamer has experienced some technical as well as structural changes. In 1960, heating went from coal to heavy fuel oil and changes were carried out to the rondels on the main and upper decks. In 1971, a new, money-saving large boiler was installed, as were a new wheelhouse and a new side entrance to the salon; both are unfortunately not aesthetically so well done. In 1999, the heating company switched from heavy fuel oil to light oil. In 2003, the electrical infrastructure was partially renovated. And from 2007 to 2009, the La Suisse was extensively renovated. Since then she navigates on the Haut-lac part of Lake Geneva from Vevey to Thonon.

The drawing for the 20-franc silver strike comes from – just like the silver coin steamer “Uri” last year – marine painter Ueli Colombi.

The new limited edition designs are are available at

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About the Swiss Federal Mint Swissmint

The Swiss Federal Mint Swissmint strikes coins for circulation in Switzerland and produces collector coins for the numismatic market. The coins produced in bimetal, silver and gold feature an official face value and are characterized in different qualities. Swissmint is also the official authority for authenticity checks on behalf of the public sector.

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