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Helvetia

db02-0230_b_600x600
db02-0230_b_600x600db02-0230_f_600x600
ID Number: DB02-0230 Description: 1 Franc Country or State: Switzerland Year: 1940 Currency: Franc Obverse: Helvetia, the female personification of Switzerland, wearing a toga, is holding a spear and is leaning on a Swiss shield. She is encircled by the 22 stars ...Read more



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ID Number: DB02-0230
Description: 1 Franc
Country or State: Switzerland
Year: 1940
Currency: Franc
Obverse: Helvetia, the female personification of Switzerland, wearing a toga, is holding a spear and is leaning on a Swiss shield. She is encircled by the 22 stars representing the 22 cantons in which the Confederation then consisted
Obverse Legend: HELVETIA A. BOVY INCT
Reverse: Value, date within wreath
Reverse Legend: 1 Fr. 1940 B
Designer: Albert Walch
Engraver: Antoine Bovy
Edge: Reeded
Orientation: Coin alignment ↑↓
Mint Mark: B (Bern)
Demonetized: 01.04.1971
Composition: Silver 0.8350 (Ag)
Diameter: 23.5 mm
Thickness: 1.52 mm
Weight: 5.0 grams (0.1342 oz.)
Mintage: 2,003,000
Catalog Number: KM# 24, Schön# 28

Helvetia is the female national personification of Switzerland, officially Confoederatio Helvetica, the Swiss Confederation.

The allegory is typically pictured in a flowing gown, with a spear and a shield emblazoned with the Swiss flag, and commonly with braided hair, commonly with a wreath as a symbol of confederation. The name is a derivation of the ethnonym Helvetii, the name of the Gaulish tribe inhabiting the Swiss Plateau before the Roman conquest.

The fashion of depicting the Swiss Confederacy in terms of female allegories arises in the 17th century. This replaces an earlier convention, popular in the 1580s, of representing Switzerland as a bull (Schweizer Stier).

Identification of the Swiss as "Helvetians" (Hélvetiens) becomes common in the 18th century, particularly in the French language, as in François-Joseph-Nicolas d'Alt de Tieffenthal's very patriotic Histoire des Hélvetiens (1749–53) followed by Alexander Ludwig von Wattenwyl's Histoire de la Confédération hélvetique (1754). Helvetia appears in patriotic and political artwork in the context of the construction of a national history and identity in the early 19th century, after the disintegration of the Napoleonic Helvetic Republic, and she appears on official federal coins and stamps from the foundation of Switzerland as a federal state in 1848.