Swissmint has issued the second commemorative coin in its three-coin
Swiss steamships series.
The .835 fine silver 20-franc coin honors the steamboat La Suisse.
Proof and Uncirculated versions are available with the same design.
When the ship was commissioned by the Sulzer brothers in 1908, Belle
Époque euphoria in Switzerland had just peaked, according to Swissmint.
The La Suisse paddle-wheel steamship would become the largest and
most elegant of all Swiss steamships. With capacity for 850
passengers, at 78.5 metres long and 15.9 meters wide, the steamship is
still in operation, powered by a sloping 1,400-horsepower two-cylinder
hot steam composite engine from Sulzer. The steamboat, which had
already received an award as a cultural monument of national
importance, was also declared to be a historical monument by the
canton of Vaud in 2011.
Over the years, La Suisse has undergone a number of technical and
structural changes: In 1960, a switch was made from heating with coal
to heavy fuel oil, and changes were made to the curved decks on the
main and upper decks. In 1971, a new, cost-saving large boiler was
installed, as well as a new wheelhouse and a new side entrance to the
saloon; however, neither is as successful as the originals from an
aesthetic point of view. In 1999, heating operation was changed again,
from heavy fuel oil to light oil.
What 1848 large cent is always
fake?: One variety of 1848 Coronet cent is always
counterfeit. It sells for thousands of dollars while genuine 1848
cents can be bought for $24.
In 2003, the boat’s electrical infrastructure was partially
refurbished. La Suisse was extensively further renovated between 2007
and 2009. Since then, it has been navigating the Haut-lac part of Lake
Geneva from Vevey to Thonon.
The 20-franc silver coin was designed by the naval painter Ueli Colombi.
The coins weigh 20 grams and measure 33 millimeters in diameter.
The Uncirculated version is limited to a mintage of 30,000 pieces
and the Proof coin is limited to 5,000 pieces.
The coins are available in a presentation case at the Swissmint’s online shop.
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