BANKNOTES OF SWITZERLAND
The Swiss Franc is the official currency of both Switzerland and Liechtenstein
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The history of the Swiss Franc.
When the current constitution went into effect in 1848, it reserved the right to issue currency as the responsibility of the Confederation, previously each individual canton issued its own currency and had its own monetary system. The Swiss franc was adopted as the National currency in 1850 with one franc subdivided into 100 rappen. At the time adoption of the value of the Swiss franc was established at par with the French franc. Although the Confederation was the sole issuer of francs, private banks were allowed to issue their own banknotes up until 1910. In 1907 the Swiss National Bank was created and from 1910 onwards has been the sole issuing authority of banknotes and coins.
The Swiss franc has remained the most stable currency throughout the last century and for a long time has been considered as a safe haven currency as there has almost always been zero inflation in Switzerland as well the currency is backed forty percent by gold reserves.
The Swiss francís ISO 4217 code is CHF, the Swiss Franc is also the official currency of Liechtenstein.
Currently banknotes are issued in
denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 1000 francs. The current (seventh
series) banknotes were introduced in the mid nineties. The current Swiss notes
are have numerous anti-copy features and are extremely difficult if not
impossible to reproduce.
Recently the Swiss National Bank held a banknote design competition, the winning design had images of things like the AIDS virus on the notes. Although this was the winning design, it is unclear whether the bank will adopt it.
The previous series of banknotes (the sixth series) first issued in 1976 is no longer redeemable, although it may be exchanged through the Swiss National Bank until 2020.
The fifth series of banknotes is no longer redeemable and is worthless, its only value is to collectors, which depending on the note can be high. At the time the fifth series became worthless in 2000, some 244 million francs were still not redeemed.
Coins come in denominations 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 rappen and 1, 2 and 5 francs. The one rappen coin, although still minted is no longer used in practice. In 2005 the Government said that it intended to remove the one and five rappen coins from circulation due to the high cost of production, but due to public outcry and fears of price increases it was finally decided in February 2006 that only the one rappen coin would be removed. The majority of the coin designs have remained unchanged since the 1880ís, except the for the metal composition. In the past there was also a two rappen coin issued up until 1974, this coin is no longer legal tender.
One thing that is a bit odd, the Swiss National Bank charges four rappen per coin for one rappen coins to cover production costs, unless an individual or business can justify a valid monetary use, then they will only charge one rappen per coin.
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Page created: 1 July 2006
Last Update: 14 November 2006
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(c) 2006 Will's Online World Paper Money Gallery