World Coins

2018 Swiss shooting festival medals available

A distributor in the United States is offering medals celebrating a tradition from Switzerland. 

The Swiss tradition of marksmanship was established during the Old Swiss Confederacy, in the 15th century, when festival participants used crossbows in shooting contests. In modern times, every five years a federal shooting festival draws more than 50,000 sharpshooters to demonstrate their shooting skills. Smaller, annual festivals (like the 2018 festival) are also held.  

This year’s annual shooting festival will be held in Stans, the capital city of the Swiss canton of Nidwalden (Nidwald), in Switzerland.

The 2018 silver and gold medals (they are not coins) share common obverse and reverse designs, save for a redeemable value indication on the reverse.  

The obverse bears a German legend indicating the event honored. A standing, partially draped Helvetica, the bare-breasted figure an allegory for Switzerland, faces to the right, extending a wreath of laurel in her left hand, a symbol of the honors bestowed upon the winners at the festival. In her right hand, she holds a rifle. Behind her is one of Switzerland’s quaint mountain towns, with the Swiss Alps in the distance.

The reverse features the traditional wreath, composed of oak leaves at left and laurel at right, surrounding the redemption value of 50 FR (for “francs”) for the silver piece and 5000 FR for the gold medal. Beneath the wreath, a marksman’s powder horn and bandolier hang from a pair of crossed firearms. The legend indicates (in both French and German, two of Switzerland’s four official languages) that the piece is redeemable during the shooting festival. 

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Of particularly significance for the 2018 shooting festival is Stans’ most famous denizen, legendary hero of the old Swiss confederacy Arnold von Winkelried (or sometimes simply Arnold Winkelried). According to 16th century Swiss historiography, Winkelried’s sacrifice brought about victory for the Swiss at the Battle of Sempach in 1386, against the army of the Habsburg Duke Leopold III of Austria. The 2018 shooting festival is dubbed the “Winkelried-Schiessen,” or Winkelried Shoot. A memorial and statue to Winkelried stands in Stans. 

The Proof .900 fine silver taler medal weighs 25 grams, measures 37 millimeters in diameter and has a mintage limit of 1,750 pieces. It retails for $99.95, with quantity discounts available.  

The Proof .999 fine gold taler medal weighs 15.567 grams, measures 33 millimeters in diameter and has a mintage limit of 275 pieces, offered at $1,499.95 each. 

Mintages for 2018 medals are higher than for the 2017 medals, when the silver version was limited to 1,200 and the gold version had a mintage limit of 200 pieces.

To order, visit the Talisman Coins website. The firm also offers medals from earlier years, at various prices and with limited quantities in some instances.

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