Swiss coins set world records for size and antiquity

The machine-minted gold coin has a diameter of only 2.96mm, roughly the size of a peppercorn

Switzerland holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s smallest commemorative coin and oldest coin still in circulation.

This content was published on April 13, 2021 - 13:17

The quarter-franc gold coin issued by the Federal Mint has been recognised by the Guinness World Records as the world’s smallest commemorative coin, Swissmint said on TuesdayExternal link.

The machine-minted gold coin, issued last year, has a diameter of only 2.96mm and weighs 0.063g. Based on these dimensions, Guinness World Records recognised it as the world’s smallest commemorative coin.

“For the obverse, we drew our inspiration from Albert Einstein’s determination and patience. It features the famous image of Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue, along with the year 2020,” Swissmint said. “The reverse shows the nominal value of ¼ franc together with the inscription ‘HELVETIA’ and the Swiss cross.”

The images can’t be discerned with the naked eye, so Swissmint designed special packaging with magnifying lenses and a light. Only 999 examples of the coin were produced, and it quickly sold out.

Over 140 years old

In addition, the Swiss ten-centime coin has been named the oldest coin still in circulation. Both sides of the ten-centime coin have remained the same – apart from the changing date – since 1879.

The ten-centime coins minted in 1879 are still legal tender

In 1853, five years after the Federal Constitution was introduced, the first Swiss coins were minted in the Federal Mint in Bern.

The first ten-centime coins bore the image of a Swiss cross on a shield in front of oak leaves, with the inscription “HELVETIA”. It wasn’t until 1879 that the motif was replaced with a woman’s head in profile, looking to the right and bearing a diadem, and the inscriptions “LIBERTAS” and the transcription “CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA”.

The image was designed by Karl Schwenzer and is still used unaltered on the ten-centime coin. What’s more, the ten-centime coins minted in 1879 are still legal tender. They have thus been in use for over 140 years.

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