The coins of Switzerland fascinate me. For one thing, the designs
used on some Swiss coins remind me of the designs featured on some
older coins of the United States.
Take for example, this 1953-B 10-rappen coin of Switzerland struck
at the Bern Mint that emerged from a roll of what should have been all
United States cents.
It bears an obverse that features the date, an allegorical
portrait of Liberty wearing a crown (headdress) that carries the word
LIBERTAS (Freedom), and the portrait itself surrounded by the
inscription CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA (Swiss Confederation).
To my eyes, if you replace the legend around the obverse portrait
with the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and then replace the word
LIBERTAS as seen on the crown with LIBERTY, you have a coin that looks
very much like the coins that we lovingly categorize in the Barber
series of United States silver coins.
The reverse of the coin depicts the numerical value of the coin
(10) within a wreath and, in the case of this coin, a B Mint mark (for
Bern) is seen under the ribbon.
On the reverse, the devices are, again, very reminiscent of some
of the designs used on early series of United States coinage, like
Seated Liberty and Barber dimes. Even our Flying Eagle and Indian Head
cents bear a striking resemblance to these coins of Switzerland.
Another thing that I truly find interesting about these coins is
that, as on many other types of Swiss coins, the designs have been the
same for well over 100 years and are still the same today.
The next unusual coin to be found was discovered in a roll of
United States 5-cent pieces. It is truly a “square peg in a round
hole,” so to speak. In fact the coin is struck on a square planchet.
Sometimes referred to as quadrangular (four-sided), the obverse
features the coat of arms of the Netherlands Antilles and the motto
LIBERTATE UNANIMUS, which, when translated from Latin, means “Unified
Seen to the left of the second E of the legend NEDERLANDSE
ANTILLEN is a “cock” privy mark, used on the 5-cent denomination from
1970 to 1985, with no 5-cent coins produced in 1972 and 1973. A cock
and star was used as the privy mark in 1980.
The reverse features the face value, 5 CENT, flanked by six stars.
The stars represented the six island territories that were a part of
the Netherlands Antilles when the coin was struck.
The “Leeward Islands” were Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao and the
“Windward Islands” were Saba, St. Eustatius and the southern half of
Please share your finds with me by going to askaboutcoins.com.
Bill O’Rourke is a collector who has spent the past several years
searching coin rolls in pursuit of his hobby.