• 1/2 Franc 1850-1851, KM# 8, Switzerland
  • 1/2 Franc 1850-1851, KM# 8, Switzerland
Description

The designation of ½ Franc was taken over from the French half-franc coin, which bore the lettering "½ FRANC" or "DEMI FRANC" until 1845. This, together with the image on the coin (seated Helvetia), emphasised that it belonged to the group of silver coins.

Designer: Friedrich Fisch
Engraver: Antoine Bovy

Obverse

In a mountain setting, laureate Helvetia seated resting on a plow and grains and wearing a toga, is holding a Swiss shield in her left hand and is raising the other toward the left side. Engraver's name on the left. Privy marks of the Paris Mint: Charles-Louis Dierickx (hand, director of the mint) and Jacques-Jean Barré (dog's head, chief engraver of ​the mint) below.

Helvetia is the pictorial allegory of Switzerland. She is a mythical figure who never actually existed. Allegorical depictions were very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. Even though Helvetia was depicted seated on the first franc coins, she has been obliged to remain standing since 1874.

The name Helvetica is a derivation of the ethnonym Helvetii, the name of the Gaulish tribe inhabiting the Swiss Plateau prior to the Roman conquest.

HELVETIA
A. BOVY

Reverse

Depicts a value inside a wreath. Mintmark below.

1/2 Fr.
1851
A

Edge -

1/2 Franc

KM# 8 Schön# 20
Characteristics
Material Silver
Fineness 0.900
Weight 2.5 g
Diameter 18.2 mm
Thickness -
Shape round
Alignment Coin
Mint
Paris Mint (A)

Related coins

Silver, 2.5 g, ⌀ 18.2 mm

Cupronickel, 2.2 g, ⌀ 18.2 mm