By The Federal Mint Swissmint ……
On May 9, 2019, the Federal Mint Swissmint launched two new collector coins. The first honors the 100th anniversary of the locomotive “Crocodile” with a gold coin. The second commemorative, a silver coin this time, honors the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, which the University of Bern participated in with an experiment conducted on the moon.
100 Years of the Crocodile Locomotive – 50 Franc Gold Coin
- Alloy: Gold 0.900
- Weight: 11.29 g
- Diameter: 25 mm
The famous electric locomotive Ce 6/8 II, affectionately known as the “Crocodile”, celebrates its 100th birthday in 2019. The “Crocodiles” are, for many people–and not just Swiss railway enthusiasts–more than just “old locomotives”. They combine Swiss cultural heritage with a lively enthusiasm for a technical masterpiece created 100 years ago. Swissmint honors the 100th anniversary of the Crocodile locomotive with the release of a 50 franc gold collector coin. The coin was designed by Raphael Schenker, a graphic designer from Zurich.
The powerful “Crocodiles” are among the most durable locomotives in the world. In the spring of 1918, Swiss Federal Railways ordered 10 machines of the “Heavy mountain freight locomotive” for use at the Gotthard from Swiss locomotive and machine factory SLM 10 ordered. The specifications of these electric locomotives provided that they cover within 28 hours twice the distance from Goldau to Chiasso that a train of 860 tons trailer weight could travel. The special thing about the construction of the “Crocodiles” was the mobile storage between the engine mounts and the locomotive body. The requirements for the electric freight locomotives for the Mountain range were enormous.
Thirty-three additional engines were introduced into service between 1919 and 1921.
After the “Crocodiles” on the Gotthard were replaced by more powerful locomotives in the mid-1950s, they took over, among other things, the transport of up to 1,200 tons of heavy pebbles in the Central Plateau. Individual locomotives remain in operation to this day.
50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing – 20 Franc Silver Coin
- Alloy: Silver 0.835
- Weight: 20 g
- Diameter: 33 mm
The moon landing 50 years ago was also a first highlight for space research at the University of Bern. Swissmint takes this anniversary as an opportunity to issue a 20-franc special coin in silver. The picture on the coin was first created as a pencil drawing by Swissmint engraver Remo Mascherini created and then digitally revised.
As members of the Apollo 11 mission, on July 21, 1969, astronauts “Buzz” Aldrin and Neil Armstrong became the first humans to step foot on the lunar surface. One of the first things that Aldrin did was to plant the American flag on the moon, where it has stood for almost 50 years.
Incidentally, the flag stand has a Swiss-made awning on it. The so-called solar wind sail from the University of Bern was the only non-American experiment on the Apollo 11 mission. This “solar wind composition experiment” was conducted by Bern physicists, led by Professor Johannes Geiss from the Physical Institute. The simplicity and light weight of the awning convinced NASA: it consisted of a uniquely coated aluminum foil of 140 x 30 centimeters in size, which was positioned as directly as possible into the sun in order to capture particles from the solar wind.
After returning to Earth, the film was analyzed at the University. The simple, lightweight and successful experiment was repeated on all lunar missions except the last (Apollo 17) and the failed Apollo 13 mission.
These two new coins from Swissmint are available at www.swissmintshop.ch, as well as at selected coin dealers and retailers.
* * *
About The Federal Mint Swissmint
The Federal Mint Swissmint is responsible for circulating coinage in Switzerland. The Mint also produces special coins and packages for the numismatic market. They also produce bimetallic coins, along with coins in silver and gold. Swissmint is also the official authority in Switzerland for authentication and provides experts for public and private clients.