Swissmint continues steamship 20-franc silver coin series

Second coin in three-year series shows ship that's still active
By , Coin World
Published : 06/08/18
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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. 


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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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