World Coins

Pre-order sales period begins for 2020 Swiss shooting talers

Swiss shooting talers are being issued for the 2020 federal shooting festival scheduled for Lucerne from June 12 to July 12. Both silver and gold versions are available, as in past years.

Images courtesy of the Coin & Currency Institute.

Switzerland’s annual series of silver and gold medals for shooting festivals will continue in 2020.

A U.S. distributor, Coin & Currency Institute, has begun accepting orders for the silver 50-franc and gold 500-franc pieces, which commemorate the 2020 federal shooting festival in Lucerne. 

The Swiss tradition of marksmanship was established during the old Swiss Confederacy in the 15th century, when festival participants used crossbows in shooting contests. The legend of William Tell recalls this tradition. 

The issuance of commemorative medals (talers) that were legal tender during the festival began in the mid-1800s, but in the last 30 years the commemoratives have carried only a representative value and are not legal tender. 

In modern times, a shooting festival is held every year in a different canton. As many as 50,000 marksmen have attended some of them. The federal festival is conducted every five years, and in 2020 is slated for June 12 to July 12 in Lucerne. 

Silver and gold versions of the traditional medals are used to help mark and promote the event and will be available in what has been a tradition since the 19th century.

Designs for the two 2020 medals are identical except for the expression of value. 

The obverse shows a pair of allegorical goddesses behind a lion. Helvetia is seated, a sword in her left hand, her right hand on the Swiss coat of arms. To her right is a female figure representing Lucerne, holding a rifle, with the cantonal arms at her feet. The reverse has the face value within a wreath with crossed rifles, a powder horn, and shooting bag below. 

The Proof 50-franc silver medal nearly always sells out, and has a mintage for 2020 of 1,000 pieces. It is .900 fine silver, weighs 25 grams and is 37 millimeters in diameter. It costs $128.75.

The .999 fine gold 500-franc medal has a much lower mintage for 2020, at 125 pieces. It weighs a half-ounce and measures 33 millimeters in diameter. Cost is $1,595, subject to availability.

The talers should be ready at the end of January.  

To order, or for more information about the coin, visit the distributor website

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