1902 Küssnacht

Actual 45 mm size by Hans Frei, Basel


The alpine huntsman in traditional tunic crouches within the evergreen forest. His outreached arm ascertains a point of ambush, and his tensed broad shoulders betrays the slightest hint of cautious apprehension as he wears an expression of grim determination across his bristly bearded face. He rests on the riser barrel of the unfailing companion, his most loyal crossbow of iron and oaken wood, surveying keenly the surrounding area. 

In ardent concentration he prepares the forever legendary assassination, of the one most reviled bailiff, who callously oppressed the kind people of the lands.

He is Wilhelm Tell, the most revered, legendary folk hero of the Confederacy. 


Frei Sind Die Hütten Sicher Ist Die Unschuld – Free are the huts, secure is the innocence before thee.


The couplet of intricately ornate blazons arms of Küssnacht, lying together in unity with the coat of arms of Schwyz, presides on a rocky outcrop, against the forested background overgrown in parts by underwood scrub bushes. 

Across the western edge, the beloved Tellskapelle, a Catholic chapel atHohle Gasse, stands in calm tranquility, in loving reminiscence of the fabled deed of old, which must have inspired the many generations of Confederate heroes after that.


"William Tell is a folk hero of Switzerland. According to the legend, Tell was an expert marksman with the crossbow who assassinated Albrecht Gessler, a tyrannical reeve of the Austrian dukes of the House of Habsburg positioned in Altdorf, in the canton of Uri. Tell's defiance and encouragement of the population to open rebellion and a pact against the foreign rulers with neighboring Schwyz and Unterwalden, marked the foundation of the Swiss Confederacy.

Albrecht Gessler was the newly appointed Austrian Vogt of Altdorf, Switzerland. He raised a pole under the village lindentree, hung his hat on top of it, and demanded that all the townsfolk bow before it.

In 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 were both to be executed; however, he could redeem his life by shooting an apple off the head of his son Walter in a single attempt. Tell split the apple with a bolt from his crossbow. Gessler then noticed that Tell had removed two crossbow bolts from his quiver, so he asked why. Tell was reluctant to answer, but Gessler promised that he would not kill him; he replied that, had he killed his son, he would have killed Gessler with the second bolt. 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 being 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, but Tell steered the boat to a rocky place and leaped out. The site is known as the "Tellsplatte" ("Tell's slab") and marked by Tellskapelle, aCatholic memorial chapel since the 16th century. Tell ran cross-country to Küssnacht with Gessler in pursuit.

“Here through this deep defile he needs must pass; there leads no other road to Küssnacht.”

- Wilhelm Tell

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.

“Free are the huts, secure is the innocence before thee, thou wilt to the land no more do wrong.”- Wilhelm Tell"

Tell's act sparked a rebellion, which led to the formation of the Old Swiss Confederacy 

In celebration of the legendary deeds of folk hero Wilhelm Tell, leading to open rebellion against tyranny and oppression, and the liberation of the lands of the Old Suisse Confederacy.







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