Actual 45 mm size by W.C. Rietmann, Herisau
Lady Helvetia, goddess personification of the Confederacy, graceful in an elegant caped gown and unshod feet, her silken tresses caressed by the soft breeze, her right arm is raised to the heavens, hand pointing towards the Swiss Cross.
In remembrance of the legendary Rütlischwur oath, conferring freedom and independence, virtues of everlasting unity and brotherhood, she honours the champions with the victor’s wreath of glory.
The Alpine champion shooter kneels to accept the honours with solemn reverence, rifle in both hands, the weighty responsibility of upholding his forefathers’ values of solidarity and courage upon his shoulders.
Olden Schwänberg town hall sits amidst the hamlet Herisau, with the enduring Säntis alpine mountain landscape in the distant backdrop, all spectators to the Schützenfest and heroic deeds of yonder years.
The proud blazon coat of arms, noble bear ferocious in his stance, between the letters V and R of Appenzell, can be traced to the medieval standard blazon of the venerable Abbey of Saint Gall. Resting upon a bed of rare Edelweiss flowers synonymous with the famed locality of the alpine terrain trails of the canton, adorned as laurels of victory.
Commemorating five centuries since the momentous event of 1403 when Appenzell attained self-determination and freedom in Battle of Vögelinsegg, the canton hosted the Grand Schützenfest of 1903.
The name Appenzell "estate of the abbot" refers to the Abbey of St. Gall, which exerted a great influence on the area.
By about 1360, conflicts over grazing rights, taxes, and tithes were causing concern for both the abbot and the farmers of Appenzell. As the farmers refused to pay many of the gifts and tithes that the Abbey demanded, the Abbot approached the Austrian House of Habsburg for help.
In 1392, he made an agreement with the Habsburgs, which was renewed in 1402. In response, in 1401, the Appenzellers entered into an alliance with the city of St. Gallen to protect their rights and freedom. Following increasing conflicts between the Appenzellers and the abbot's agents, (including the bailiff of Appenzell demanding that a dead body be dug up because he wanted the man's clothes), the Appenzellers planned an uprising.
On a certain day, throughout the abbot's lands, they attacked the bailiffs and drove them out of the land. Appenzell declared ready to stand against the abbot, and in 1403 formed an alliance with the canton of Schwyz, a member of the Old Swiss Confederation that had defeated the Austrians in the previous century. In response, the Swabian League (House of Habsburg) raised an army toward Appenzell.
On 15 May 1403, they entered the pass to Speicher and outside the village of Vögelinsegg met the Appenzell army. Appenzell leading the first attacks and vanquished the large army of the Swabian League. The league lost 600 horsemen and over 5,000 infantry over the Confederacy combined army of just 2,600.
Appenzell freed from the yoke of tyranny, became independent of the Abbey of Saint Gall in 1403 and entered a league with the Old Swiss Confederacy in 1411, becoming a full member in 1513.
In memory of the great victory 500 years prior, during the Battle of Vögelinsegg, when Appenzell vanquished the larger Swabian League army, and henceforth from the year of 1403, won their cherished independence and rights from the Abbey of Saint Gall.