World Coins

Switzerland honors alpine edelweiss on coin

Switzerland celebrates the alpine edelweiss on a ringed-bimetallic 10-Swiss-franc coin in 2016, the first in a three-year series celebrating alpine flora.

Images courtesy of Swissmint.

Edelweiss is the first subject of a three-coin program from Switzerland celebrating Alpine flora.

The edelweiss, the alpine symbol par excellence, symbolizes beauty, desire, honesty, purity and courage. It is the first subject in a three-year commemorative coin program of 10-Swiss-franc coins. 

Contrary to popular belief, the alpine edelweiss is a plant found not only on steep rocky slopes. Although it grows on rocky terrain, it feels much more at home in alpine pastures, as it originated in high-altitude plateaus. 

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Due to excessive picking, however, the flower was almost completely wiped out from the pastures and nowadays is often found only in areas difficult to access. Thus, finding an edelweiss in the wild is a rare stroke of luck. It is more commonly seen in tourism advertisements and on fashion items or souvenirs.

Anyone bold enough to pick this rare and difficult-to-access flower for his beloved will certainly be rewarded. 

The star-shaped part with fuzzy, white petals (technically, bracts) that is generally considered the flower is not actually the flower but a pseudanthium. 

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The actual inflorescence is in the center and is rather inconspicuous, having between two and 12 similar cup-shaped flower heads with 60 to 80 pale yellow florets each. 

The hardy and herbaceous plant can grow to between 5 and 20 centimeters in height. 

The other two themes planned in the Swiss coin program are gentian and silver thistle, according to Swissmint.

The obverse of this first ringed-bimetallic 10-franc coin in the series carries an  Alpine Edelweiss design by artist Jenny Leibundgut. The reverse carries the common design with the denomination, nation’s name and other inscriptions and legends.

The coin weighs 15 grams and measures 33 millimeters in diameter, having an outer ring of aluminum-bronze surrounding a copper-nickel core.

An Uncirculated version has a mintage limit of 30,000 pieces and the Proof version is limited to 6,000 pieces.

Distributor Royal Scandinavian Mint offers the coins to collectors in North America, but pricing is not yet determined as of press time. To order, or for more details about the coin, visit the distributor’s website

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