On 12 September 2019, the Federal Mint Swissmint will launch the new “Furka Pass” silver coin. Following on from the “Klausen Pass”, this is the second in the three-part Swiss Alpine passes coin series. Swissmint will conclude this year’s coin programme with the new commemorative coin for coin enthusiasts and collectors and the 2019 Christmas coin set.
Description of the Coin
With the silver “Furka Pass” 20-franc coin, Swissmint is continuing the three-part commemorative series on Swiss Alpine passes launched last year. The coin’s image depicts the landscape relief of the Furka Pass in the background and a historic Berna/Seitz postal bus in the foreground. Vito Noto, the industrial designer from Cadro, was again responsible for its design. The coin has a diameter of 33mm, weights 20g and is issued at a mintage of 20,000 units.
At an altitude of 2429 metres above sea level, the Furka Pass is one of the highest and most impressive Alpine passes in Switzerland. It connects the hamlet of Gletsch in the canton of Valais with Andermatt in the canton of Uri and, together with the Oberalp Pass, forms an east-west link within the Alps. The area is one of the snowiest in Switzerland. The European watershed runs along the pass: the Rhone flows southwest towards the Mediterranean, while the (Furka-)Reuss sweeps northeast into the Rhine and the North Sea.
The first landmark event in Furka Pass traffic to be documented was around the 12th century, when hundreds of German-speaking Walser people settled with their families in the Urseren Valley or even further east in Raetia. In the 14th century, the route over the pass summit at 2429 metres a.s.l. gained in importance for the Walser people because it granted them direct access to the transalpine axis via the Gotthard. Between 1864 and 1866, the almost 40-kilometre-long and at least 4.20 metres wide road from Hospental to Oberwald was built by the cantons of Uri and Valais.
Whether by bicycle, motorbike, car, postal bus or historic steam train on the cogwheel mountain route – every year more than 250,000 people cross the Furka Pass and enjoy the spectacular view. For example from the famous Hotel Belvédère on the Rhone glacier or the surrounding alpine granite world.
2019 Christmas Coin Set
At the same time as the “Furka Pass” coin, the Christmas coin set will be the final issue of the year. Guaranteed to be a great and valuable gift for young and old! Alongside this year’s circulation coins, the special coin set contains a medal with a trumpet-blowing Christmas angel. Angels and snow stars on the medal and on the slipcase remind us of the magic of Christmas. Jenny Leibundgut from Bern designed this stylish gift idea. The coin set is issued at a mintage of 1,500 units.
The new commemorative coin and the coin set will be available from 12 September 2019 onwards as limited editions at the Swissmint website, via phone (+41 58 4 800 800) and from some coin dealers and banks.
I am sure all of you have seen the Furka at least once: When you watched anxiously the high-speed pursuit featured in James Bond’s “Goldfinger”.