Schützenfest Schützentaler


The Schützentaler is a commemorative coin minted for the Schützenfest or free shooting tournaments held in various cantons within the Swiss Confederation.

Initial Schützentalers were cantonal pieces, minted by the sovereign cantons of Switzerland. All of these pieces, were strictly legal tender and were minted to legal fineness, and were thus allowed to bear the denomination of 5 Frankens.
In 1865, Switzerland became a member of the Latin Monetary Union Schützentalers were not included in the mintages authorized by the Union. Therefore, these issues are commonly considered semi-medallic, though they could circulate due to their size and weight being the same as that of the regular 5 Franken issues. This series began in 1855 with the Solothurn issue and ended in 1885 with the Bern issue. The Monetary Union ceased to exist in 1927.
Most of the Schützentaler designs differ from their then existing circulating counterparts, though the pieces issued for the shooting festivals in 1851 Geneva and 1855 Solothurn are the two only exceptions.
Schützentaler designs depict cantonal or patriotic themes, such as historical military leaders or heraldry. The entire series can be distinguished from shooting medals by their adherence to the specifications of the circulating coinage then.
All talers, except for the 1861 Stans and 1874 St. Gallen issues, carries a denomination value. Although, other countries have minted coins in honour of shooting festivals or marksmanship competitions, but only Swiss pieces are considered uniquely Schützentalers.
The first Schützentaler was issued for the Chur shooting festival in 1842 and is denominated at 4 Frankens. The second, issued for 1847 Glarus, has a face value of 40 Batzen. The third, minted for the shooting festival in 1851 Geneva, is denominated at 10 Frankens. 
A total of eighteen designs were struck in the 19th century, concluding with the Bern issue of 1885. All those struck from 1855 to 1885 bear the denomination of five francs. Many nineteenth-century issues were also struck in various other metals besides silver, including gold and white metal, in small quantities.

 

19th Century Kantonal Schützentaler 

1842 Chur

Obverse of coin. A shield bearing the Swiss Cross in front of flags, branches and rifles. Above the shield is a crown with three feathers. A powder horn is suspended below. Inscription and date around outer edge.     Reverse of coin. Three ovals, each depicting coats of arms. Above the ovals are two clasped hands emerging from clouds, surrounded by rays. Below are two intersected branches
  • Year: 1842
  • Location: Chur
  • Denomination: 4 francs
  • Designer(s): Karl Friedrich Voigt
  • Diameter: 40 mm (1.57 in)
  • Coinage metal: Silver
  • Mintage: 4,256
  • Notes: White metal and zinc pieces are known to have been struck. The zinc pieces were allegedly fixed in the center of a target during the shooting festival. If hit, the shooter would be given a larger award.
Details Translation
Obverse EIDGENÖSSISCHES FREISCHIESSEN IN CHUR – 1842 Federal Free Shoot in Chur – 1842
Reverse CANTON GRAUBÜNDEN – 4 SCHWEIZER FRANKEN Canton of Graubünden – 4 Swiss francs
Edge EINTRACHT MACHT STARK Harmony is strength

1847 Glarus

Obverse of coin. Coat of arms of Glarus in the center, encircled by oak and laurel. Inscription and date around the outer edge.     Reverse of coin, with Swiss cross in the center, rifles and flags arrayed behind, above which are two clasped hands, denomination below. Around the outer edge are laurel branches.
  • Year: 1847
  • Location: Glarus
  • Denomination: 40 batzen
  • Designer(s): S. Burger, Karl Friedrich Voigt
  • Diameter: 40 mm (1.57 in)
  • Coinage metal: Silver
  • Mintage: 3,200
  • Notes: 1,023 pieces melted. White metal and zinc pieces are known to have been struck. The zinc pieces were allegedly fixed in the center of a target during the shooting festival. If hit, the shooter would be given a larger award.
Details Translation
Obverse EIDGENÖSSISCHES FREYSCHIESSEN IN GLARUS – 1847 Federal Free Shoot in Glarus – 1847
Reverse 40 Btz. 40 batzen
Edge EINTRACHT MACHT STARK Harmony is strength

1851 Geneva

Obverse of coin. "IHS" surrounded by rays, above the coat of arms of Geneva.     Reverse of coin. A wreath of oak and laurel surrounding the date and denomination. Inscription around the outer edge.
  • Year: 1851
  • Location: Geneva
  • Denomination: 10 francs
  • Designer(s): Antoine Bovy
  • Diameter: 48 mm (1.89 in)
  • Coinage metal: Silver
  • Mintage: 1,000
  • Notes: The design is identical to the regular 10 franc issues.
Details Translation
Obverse POST - TENEBRAS - LUX Light after darkness
Reverse REPUBLIC ET CANTON DE GENEVE – 10 FRANCS 1851 Republic and Canton of Geneva – 10 francs 1851


1855 Solothurn

Helvetia seated, holding shield bearing the Swiss Cross, pointing left. Legend above.
  • Year: 1855
  • Location: Solothurn
  • Denomination: 5 francs
  • Designer(s): Antoine Bovy
  • Diameter: 37 mm (1.46 in)
  • Coinage metal: Silver
  • Mintage: 3,000
  • Notes: The design is identical to the regular 5 franc issues.
Inscription Translation
Obverse HELVETIA Switzerland
Reverse 5 Fr. 1855 5 francs 1855
Edge EIDGEN. FREISCHIESEN SOLOTHURN 1855 Federal free shoot Solothurn 1855

1857 Bern

Legend surrounding rifleman in regalia.     Rifles crossed over the Swiss Cross. The Swiss Cross is surrounded by rays encircled by a wreath of oak and laurel. Surrounded by legend and denomination.
  • Year: 1857
  • Location: Bern
  • Denomination: 5 francs
  • Designer(s): Ferdinand Korn
  • Diameter: 37 mm (1.46 in)
  • Coinage metal: Silver
  • Mintage: 5,191
  • Notes: Examples are known to have been struck in white metal.
Inscription Translation
Obverse EHRE IST MEIN HOECHSTES ZIEL Honor is my highest goal
Reverse EIDGENÖSSISCHES FREISCHIESSEN IN BERN 1857 – 5 FRANKEN Federal free shoot in Bern 1857 – 5 francs

1859 Zurich

Legend surrounding standing rifleman. Date below.     Legend above two rampant lions flanking three shields, one bearing the Swiss Cross. Denomination below.
  • Year: 1859
  • Location: Zürich
  • Denomination: 5 francs
  • Designer(s): Ferdinand Korn
  • Diameter: 37 mm (1.46 in)
  • Coinage metal: Silver
  • Mintage: 6,000
Inscription Translation
Obverse EIDGENÖSSISCHES FREISCHIESSEN – 1859 Federal free shoot – 1859
Reverse ZÜRICH – 5 FRANKEN Zürich – 5 francs

1861 Stans

Legend surrounding Arnold Winkelried falling on the pikes of Habsburg soldiers.      Swiss Cross surrounded by rays. Legend along edge.
  • Year: 1861
  • Location: Stans
  • Denomination: 5 francs
  • Designer(s): Antoine Bovy, Lukas Ferdinand Schlöth
  • Diameter: 37 mm (1.46 in)
  • Coinage metal: Silver
  • Mintage: 6,000
  • Notes: Essai pieces are known to have been struck in white metal.
Inscription Translation
Obverse ARNOLD WINKELRIED Arnold Winkelried
Reverse EIDGENÖSSISCHES SCHÜTZENFEST IN NIDWALDEN – 1861 Federal shooting festival in Nidwalden – 1861

1863 La Chaux-de-Fonds

Helvetia seated, pointing left, holding Swiss shield. Legend above, denomination below.     Crossed standards and rifles intertwined with wreath. Coat of arms of canton of Neuchâtel superimposed. Radiant Swiss cross above. Legend and date along edge.
  • Year: 1863
  • Location: La Chaux-de-Fonds
  • Denomination: 5 francs
  • Designer(s): Antoine Bovy, Jacob Siber
  • Diameter: 37 mm (1.46 in)
  • Coinage metal: Silver
  • Mintage: 6,000
  • Notes: Examples are known to have been struck in white metal.
Inscription Translation
Obverse HELVETIA – 5 FRANCS Switzerland – 5 francs
Reverse TIR FEDERAL A LA CHAUX-DE-FONDS – JÚILLET 1863 Federal shoot in La Chaux-de-Fonds – July 1863

1865 Schaffhausen

Helvetia seated, holding wreath. Boy holding an apple shot through by arrow, to right of Helvetia.      Coat of arms of canton of Schaffhausen superimposed over Swiss cross. Legend and date along edge. Denomination at bottom.
  • Year: 1865
  • Location: Schaffhausen
  • Denomination: 5 francs
  • Designer(s): Antoine Bovy
  • Diameter: 37 mm (1.46 in)
  • Coinage metal: Silver
  • Mintage: 10,000
  • Notes: Two examples are known to have been struck in gold.
Inscription Translation
Obverse None None
Reverse EIDGENÖSSISCHES SCHÜTZENFEST IN SCHAFFHAUSEN 1865 – 5 Fr. Federal shooting festival in Schaffhausen 1865 – 5 francs

1867 Schwyz

Rampant lion, holding sword, supporting shield. Lion's right back paw standing on a quiver of arrows. Legend on either side of lion.      Weapons and standards crossed behind Swiss shield, wreath below. Legend and date along edge. Denomination at bottom.
  • Year: 1867
  • Location: Schwyz
  • Denomination: 5 francs
  • Designer(s): Antoine Bovy
  • Diameter: 37 mm (1.46 in)
  • Coinage metal: Silver
  • Mintage: 8,000
  • Notes:
Inscription Translation
Obverse KANTON SCHWYZ Canton of Schwyz
Reverse EIDGENÖSSISCHES SCHÜTZENFEST IN SCHWYZ 1867 – 5 Fr. Federal shooting festival in Schwyz 1867 – 5 francs

1869 Zug

Hans Landwing, in full military dress, holding standard aloft in left hand, battle axe in right. Legend and date along edge. "1422" in exurge.      Feathered cap over two shields, superimposed over crossed rifles and wreath of oak and laurel. Legend along edge, denomination at bottom.
  • Year: 1869
  • Location: Zug
  • Denomination: 5 francs
  • Designer(s): Antoine Bovy
  • Diameter: 37 mm (1.46 in)
  • Coinage metal: Silver
  • Mintage: 6,000
  • Notes: Four examples are known to have been struck in gold.
Inscription Translation
Obverse HANS LANDWING RETTET DAS PANNER BEI ARBEDO – 1422 Hans Landwing saves the banner at Arbedo – 1422
Reverse EIDGENÖSSISCHES SCHÜTZENFEST 1869 IN ZUG – 5 Fr. Federal shooting festival 1869 in Zug – 5 francs

1872 Zürich

Helvetia standing, holding wreath aloft in left hand, supporting coat of arms of Zürich in right. Gears and crops at feet. Legend along edge.      Swiss shield superimposed over fasces, crossed rifles and banner reading "ALLE FÜR EINEN – EINER FÜR ALLE", translated as "all for one, one for all". Surrounded by wreath of oak and laurel. Legend and date along edge. Denomination below.
  • Year: 1872
  • Location: Zürich
  • Denomination: 5 francs
  • Designer(s): Fritz Landry
  • Diameter: 37 mm (1.46 in)
  • Coinage metal: Silver
  • Mintage: 10,000
  • Notes: The obverse design was used on a shooting medal issued for the same festival.
Inscription Translation
Obverse FÜR FREIHEIT UND VATERLAND For freedom and the fatherland
Reverse EIDGENÖSSISCHES SCHÜTZENFEST IN ZÜRICH 1872 – 5 Fr. Federal shooting festival in Zürich 1872 – 5 francs

1874 St. Gallen

Bearded general, kneeling, holding standard in left hand, holding sword aloft and pointing toward the sun. "1474 A 1476" in exurge.      Coat of arms of St. Gallen superimposed over crossed rifles and wreath of oak and laurel. Swiss cross above, city view behind. Legend along top edge. Date below, in exurge.
  • Year: 1874
  • Location: St. Gallen
  • Denomination: 5 francs
  • Designer(s): Fritz Landry
  • Diameter: 37 mm (1.46 in)
  • Coinage metal: Silver
  • Mintage: 15,000
Inscription Translation
Obverse 1474 A 1476 1474 to 1476
Reverse EIDGENÖSS. SCHÜTZENFEST IN ST. GALLEN – 1874 Federal shooting festival in St. Gallen – 1874
Edge None

1872 Lausanne

Two allegorical females shake hands, one holding goblet. Behind the females are standards, fasces, shields, grape vines and scenery. At their feet are the dates of 1839 and 1876. Legend along edge above, denomination in exurge below.      City view of Lausanne. Legend and date above.
  • Year: 1876
  • Location: Lausanne
  • Denomination: 5 francs
  • Designer(s): Edouard Durussel
  • Diameter: 37 mm (1.46 in)
  • Coinage metal: Silver
  • Mintage: 20,000
  • Notes: The reverse design was used on a shooting medal issued for the same festival.
Inscription Translation
Obverse POUR ETRE FORTS SOYONS UNIS – 5 F Let us be strong and united – 5 francs
Reverse TIR FÉDÉRAL DE 1876 LAUSANNE Federal shoot of 1876 Lausanne

1879 Basel

Front–facing male in regalia, holding long sword. Legend along edge.       Cockatrice in center surrounded by legend and date. Denomination below. Shields of the Swiss cantons along edge.
  • Year: 1879
  • Location: Basel
  • Denomination: 5 francs
  • Designer(s): Edouard Durussel
  • Diameter: 37 mm (1.46 in)
  • Coinage metal: Silver
  • Mintage: 30,000
  • Notes: Two varieties exist. One variety depicts rays between the sword and leg, while the other does not. Examples are known to have been struck in white metal.
Inscription Translation
Obverse DAS SCHWERT ZUR HAND IM HERZEN GOTT SO WIRD D. SCHWEIZER NIE Z. SPOTT With sword in his hand and God in his heart, so will the Swiss never be disgraced
Reverse EIDG. SCHÜTZENFEST IN BASEL 1879 – 5 Fr. Federal shooting festival in Basel 1879 – 5 francs

1881 Fribourg

Two seated soldiers, one wielding crossbow and one battle axe, supporting shields below standing Helvetia holding Swiss flag. Legend along edge, "1481" in exurge.      Swiss cross above city view of Fribourg. Legend and date along edge, denomination at bottom.
  • Year: 1881
  • Location: Fribourg
  • Denomination: 5 francs
  • Designer(s): Edouard Durussel
  • Diameter: 37 mm (1.46 in)
  • Coinage metal: Silver
  • Mintage: 30,000
Inscription Translation
Obverse ENTRÉE DE FRIBOURG & SOLEURE DANS LA CONFÉDÉRATION SUISSE – 1481 Entry of Fribourg and Solothurn into the Swiss Confederation – 1481
Reverse TIR FÉDÉRAL À FRIBOURG 1881 – 5 Fr Federal shoot in Fribourg 1881 – 5 francs

1883 Lugano

Seated Helvetia and nude man. Helvetia is holding a sword and shield bearing the Swiss cross; nude man is holding a lyre. The figures are seated above a stone tunnel with train emerging. Legend along edge at top, denomination at bottom.      Coat of arms of Lugano superimposed over rifles, standard and laurel branches. Shooting cap above. View of lake to right. Legend and year within banner above.
  • Year: 1883
  • Location: Lugano
  • Denomination: 5 francs
  • Designer(s): Edouard Durussel
  • Diameter: 37 mm (1.46 in)
  • Coinage metal: Silver
  • Mintage: 30,000
Inscription Translation
Obverse LIBERTADE INERME É DE' TIRANNI AGEVOL PREDA – 5 Fr. Defenseless liberty is easy prey for tyrants – 5 francs
Reverse TIRO FEDERALE IN LUGANO 1883 Federal shoot in Lugano 1883

1885 Bern

Standing Helvetia holding sword and shield, bear behind. Legend along edge.      Coat of arms of Bern superimposed over crossed rifles and wreaths. Swiss cross above. Legend and date along edge, denomination below.
  • Year: 1885
  • Location: Bern
  • Denomination: 5 francs
  • Designer(s): Edouard Durussel, Christian Bühler
  • Diameter: 37 mm (1.46 in)
  • Coinage metal: Silver
  • Mintage: 25,000
  • Notes: Examples are known to have been struck in white metal.
Inscription Translation
Obverse DEM BUND ZUM SCHUTZ DEM FEIND ZUM TRUTZ The Federation to protect, the enemy to defy
Reverse EIDGENÖSSISCHES SCHÜTZENFEST IN BERN 1885 – 5 Fr. Federal shooting festival in Bern 1885 – 5 francs

 


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