Actual 37 mm size by Antoinne Bovy, Genf
The lady regal in stature, beautiful in demeanour, gazes benevolently at the innocent child by her side. Adorned with a queenly crown upon her brow, clothed in royal robes, she sits on a seat of stone, itself decorated with the heraldic blazon of the revered Swiss Cross, identifying her as the venerable Helvetia, the personification of the united Confederacy.
As the good protector, her sword will always be close by within her reach. Now her blade lies within its sheath, depicting all is peaceful. Her right hand holds on to a garland of laurel leaves, the just reward for all the champions of the shooting competition. And in her left hand, the shield of protection bearing her crest guards the youngling within her warm embrace.
This child, oblivious to his surroundings, in euphoric jubilance, lifts the apple shot by the bolt that struck cleanly through by the greatest champion of all – Wilhelm Tell, and henceforth this act will be renowned by all as the legendary “Apple-Shot”.
In the backdrop, the Munot, a circular 16th century fortification, stands in the center of the Swiss city of Schaffhausen, serving as its symbol.
On the ornately embellished background, the prancing ram is the heraldic beast portrayed on the blazon emblem of the Canton of Schaffhausen. Engraved within the glorious Swiss Cross, Schaffhausen is a proud member of the great Swiss Confederacy.
Shooting an apple off one's child's head, also known as an “apple-shot” is a feat of exceptional marksmanship with a bow or crossbow that occurs as a motif in a number of legends in Germanic folklore. It always occurs in the form of the marksman being ordered to shoot an apple off his own son's head. It is best known as William Tell's legendary feat.
William Tell was known as a strong man, a mountain climber, and an expert shot with the crossbow. In his time, the House of Habsburg emperors of Austria were seeking to dominate Uri. Albrecht Gessler was the newly appointed Austrian Vogt of Altdorf, Switzerland. He raised a pole under the village linden tree, hung his hat on top of it, and demanded that all the townsfolk bow before it.
On 18 November 1307, Tell visited Altdorf with his young son. He passed by the hat, but publicly refused to bow to it, and was consequently arrested. Gessler was intrigued by Tell's famed marksmanship, but resentful of his defiance, so he devised a cruel punishment. Tell and his son was both sentenced to be executed; however, he could redeem his life by shooting an apple off the head of his son Walter in a single attempt.
After splitting the apple with the single shot, Tell is asked why he took more than one bolt out; at first he responds that it was out of habit, but when assured he will not be killed for answering honestly, says the second bolt was meant for Gessler's heart should he fail.
Gessler was furious and ordered Tell to be bound, saying that he had promised to spare his life, but would imprison him for the remainder of his life. Tell was then carried in Gessler's boat to the dungeon in the castle at Küssnacht when a storm broke on Lake Lucerne, and the guards were afraid that their boat would sink. They begged Gessler to remove Tell's shackles so that he could take the helm and save them. Gessler gave in, however Tell steered the boat to a rocky place and leapt out.
Tell ran cross-country to Küssnacht with Gessler in pursuit. Tell assassinated him using the second crossbow bolt, along a stretch of the road cut through the rock between Immensee and Küssnacht, which is known as the Hohle Gasse.
Tell's act sparked a rebellion, which led to the formation of the Old Swiss Confederacy.
In beloved memory of the legendary “Apple-Shot” by the great marksman Hero - Wilhelm Tell, who according to folklore, sparked a remarkable sequence of events leading to the founding of the Old Swiss Confederacy.