Rapp Auctions: L’Excellence Suisse – Switzerland’s Most Precious Coins

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By Rapp Auctions …..

From 2 to 12 May 2017, the international auction house Rapp will be presenting a comprehensive exhibition of Switzerland’s most precious and rare coins in cooperation with Chaponnière & Firmenich SA. The exhibition tells the story of Switzerland’s coins and documents the creation of the Swiss Franc.

Are you interested in Swiss coins? Then please save the date of the exhibition L’EXCELLENCE SUISSE, taking place from 2 to 12 May 2017 at the premises of Rapp Auctions in Wil, Switzerland. The main emphasis is put on the Swiss Franc – in silver and in gold.

The Creation of the Swiss Franc

Due to the historical research performed by Olivier Chaponnière, we nowadays command a lot more knowledge about the creation of the Swiss world record pieces by Antoine Bovy: Coins featuring the type of Helvetia standing have been struck since 1874. This makes the Swiss Franc the oldest circulation coin of the world. The coin’s reverse type also created by Bovy dates back to the first issues of the Swiss Confederation of 1850. Aided by sketches, original models, patterns and first strikes, the exhibition also illustrates how the Helvetia Seated type was created and why, in 1874, it was replaced by Helvetia Standing.

The Gold of Switzerland

All, really all types of the Swiss gold coins are to be seen in the second part of the exhibition. These include the great rarities such as the Stirnlocken-Vreneli [a pattern featuring a prominent forelock] as well as the only preserved specimens of the enigmatic gold-coin series of 1955, which are in private property.

Additionally, the exhibition will display one of the legendary 15 strikes in gold from the dies of the commemorative coin 100 Years of Swiss Constitution, which the Federal Government awarded to 15 Swiss citizens who happened to be alive at the time when the constitution was passed.

Thanks to Olivier Chaponnière’s extensive research, the exhibition L’EXCELLENCE SUISSE, can present the history of Swiss gold coins in all details illustrating it with many originals, patterns and models up to the latest commemorative coins of Swissmint.

The Money of Our Ancestors

To really appreciate the incredible changes in handling money because of the introduction of the Swiss Franc, a third part of the exhibition illuminates the everyday history of Swiss money. We will use numismatic gems from Eastern Switzerland, originating from the presumably most important private collection of Swiss coins and never to be seen in public before to raise the question why these coins were struck and how these coins were used in everyday business transactions.

Two Voluminous Catalogues

For (and because of) this exhibition, the two foundational works on Swiss numismatics authored by Olivier Chaponnière, Antoine Bovy & le Franc Suisse and L’Or de la Suisse, were translated into German. On the basis of the exhibits presented in the exhibition, these books tell the detailed history of the birth of the Swiss franc and of the Swiss gold coins, the latter up onto the present time. Both volumes of which the first was honored by the Jean-Paul Divo Prize of Professional Swiss Numismatists in 2016 will be edited in a completely new layout.

In addition, there will be a lavishly illustrated volume on The Money of Our Ancestors penned by Ursula Kampmann. This multiply award winning author informs us about our ancestors’ everyday transactions with money. And she provides insights into the background of early-modern monetary economy.

Marianne Rapp Ohmann, the initiator and organizer of the exhibition, waxes lyrical about the wonderful collaboration of the many who were involved and helped to make her dreams become real:

“In the beginning, I just had the modest idea to organize a small exhibition about Swiss numismatics. I wished to demonstrate to the people of Wil and in its surroundings, what we do and how thrilling numismatics can be. The dedicated collaboration of so many experienced numismatists has turned my initial project into something really big. Now it obviously has turned into one of the most important exhibitions on Swiss numismatics ever.

“The concept that we have been following with our The Money of our Ancestors exhibition, is entirely new. Our focus is not on individual coins, but rather on the question why these coins were produced and how they were handled: We wished to show that the Swiss Franc was really something incredibly new, that has shaped our past and will go on shaping our presence and future. I would like to invite to this exhibition all those who wish to understand why our money looks like it does, and why it is used the way it is. It would be a pleasure if my enthusiasm for this theme was contagious and infected all visitors who attend the exhibition.”

The exhibition L’EXCELLENCE SUISSE – Switzerland’s Most Precious Coins is open from 2 to 12 MAY, 2017, 14:00 – 17:00. Admission is free. The event will take place at the premises of the Peter Rapp auction house, Toggenburgerstrasse 139, CH-9500 Wil.

For further information, please consult our new website which we created for this event: www.rapp-coins.ch.

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The Exhibition

L’EXCELLENCE SUISSE – Switzerland’s Most Precious Coins


Toggenburgerstrasse 139
CH-9500 Wil
0041 71 923 77 44

Opening Hours

2 to 12 May, 2017.
Tuesday to Friday, 14:00 – 17:00

Public Reception

Thursday, 4 May from 17:00 in the Rapp Auctions House, Wil

Opening Speech by Wil’s Mayor, Susanne Hartmann

All those interested are cordially invited to a short introductory speech and a subsequent aperitif.

Open Saturday, 6 May, 10:30 – 16:00. Admission is free.


  • Curator of the Exhibition: Dr. Ursula Kampmann
  • Overall Management of the Exhibition: Marianne Rapp Ohmann
  • Numismatic Consultancy: Olivier Chaponnière, Sébastien Firmenich, Georg Brosi


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