Banknotes of the Swiss franc

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The current series.

Banknotes of the Swiss franc are issued by the Swiss National Bank in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 1000 Swiss francs.

History[edit]

The first banknotes in Switzerland were issued in 1825 by the Caisse de dépôt of the city of Bern.[1]

During the 19th century the Cantons had the right of printing notes. Following the law of 8 March 1881 the Swiss National Bank had the exclusive right to issue banknotes in Switzerland. First notes were issued in 1907. Since then, eight series of Swiss franc notes have been printed, six of which have been released for use by the general public, and a new series is expected in 2015.[2]

Overview[edit]

Overview of all series of Swiss banknotes[3]
Series Introduction Date recalled Valueless since/from Designer Remark
1st 1907 1 July 1925 1 July 1945 Josef Storck and Albert Walch Changeover notes, similar to notes used by earlier banks
2nd 1911 1 October 1958 1 October 1978 Eugène Burnand, Ferdinand Hodler, S. Balzer
3rd 1918 1 July 1925 1 July 1945 Orell Füssli War notes; only partially issued
4th 1938 Victor Surbeck and Hans Erni Reserve series, never issued
5th 1956 1 May 1980 1 May 2000 Pierre Gauchat and Hermann Eidenbenz
6th 1976 1 May 2000 1 May 2020 Ernst and Ursula Hiestand
7th Elisabeth and Roger Pfund Reserve series; never issued
8th 1995 Jörg Zintzmeyer Current series
9th 2015 (planned) Manuela Pfrunder planned

All series of Swiss banknotes[edit]

First series[edit]

1st series of Swiss banknotes[4]
Image Value Dimensions Main Colour Description Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse issue withdrawal lapse
CHF50 1 front horizontal.jpg CHF50 1 back horizontal.jpg 50 francs 166 × 103 mm Green/Yellow Helvetia Ornaments 20 June 1907 1 July 1925 1 July 1945
CHF100 1 front horizontal.jpg CHF100 1 back horizontal.jpg 100 francs 183 × 116 mm Blue Helvetia Ornaments
CHF500 1 front horizontal.jpg CHF500 1 back horizontal.jpg 500 francs 199 × 126 mm Green Helvetia Ornaments
CHF1000 1 front horizontal.jpg CHF1000 1 back horizontal.jpg 1000 francs 215 × 132 mm Purple Helvetia Ornaments
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre.

Second series[edit]

The second series of Swiss banknotes was issued between 1911 and 1914.

2nd series of Swiss banknotes[5]
Image Value Dimensions Main Colour Description Date of Notes
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse issue withdrawal lapse
CHF5 2 front horizontal.jpg CHF5 2 back horizontal.jpg 5 francs 148 × 70 mm Brown/Green William Tell Ornaments 3 August 1914 1 May 1980 1 May 2000
CHF10 2 front horizontal.png CHF10 2 back horizontal.png 10 francs 135 × 82 mm Brown/Yellow Woman from Neuchâtel Ornaments Reserve note
CHF20 2 front horizontal.jpg CHF20 2 back horizontal.jpg 20 francs 163 × 95 mm Blue/purple Vreneli Ornaments 31 July 1914 31 December 1935 1 January 1956
CHF50 2 front horizontal.jpg CHF50 2 back horizontal.jpg 50 francs 165 × 106 mm Green Woman's head Woodcutter 22 December 1911 1 October 1958 1 October 1978
CHF100 2 front horizontal.jpg CHF100 2 back horizontal.jpg 100 francs 181 × 115 mm Dark blue Woman's head Reaper 16 September 1911 1 October 1958 1 October 1978
CHF500 2 front horizontal.jpg CHF500 2 back horizontal.jpg 500 francs 200 × 125 mm Red/Brown Woman's head Embroideres 24 December 1912 1 October 1958 1 October 1978
CHF1000 2 front horizontal.jpg CHF1000 2 back horizontal.jpg 1000 francs 216 × 131 mm Purple/Orange Woman's head Foundry 16 September 1911 1 October 1958 1 October 1978
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre.

Third series[edit]

The third series of Swiss banknotes was printed in 1918; some of the notes were issued as war notes, while others were kept as reserve.[6]

Fourth series[edit]

The fourth series of Swiss banknotes was printed in 1938 as a reserve series and was never issued.

4th series of Swiss banknotes[7]
Image Value Dimensions Main Colour Description Date of issue
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
CHF50 4 front horizontal.jpg CHF50 4 back horizontal.jpg 50 francs 167 × 96 mm Green Woman's head Bull Never issued (reserve series)
CHF100 4 front horizontal.jpg CHF100 4 back horizontal.jpg 100 francs 190 × 106 mm Blue Woman from Haslital Ornaments
CHF500 4 front horizontal.jpg CHF500 4 back horizontal.jpg 500 francs 210 × 116 mm Brown-red Woman's head Chemistry
CHF1000 4 front horizontal.jpg CHF1000 4 back horizontal.jpg 1000 francs 228 × 125 mm Purple Woman's head Turbine
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre.

Fifth series[edit]

The fifth series of Swiss banknotes was issued starting in 1957.

5th series of Swiss banknotes[8]
Image Value Dimensions Main Colour Description Designer Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse issue withdrawal lapse
CHF10 5 front horizontal.jpg CHF10 5 back horizontal.jpg 10 francs 137 × 75 mm Red-brown Gottfried Keller Bennet blossoms Hermann Eidenbenz 1 October 1956 1 May 1980 1 May 2000
CHF20 5 front horizontal.jpg CHF20 5 back horizontal.jpg 20 francs 155 × 85 mm Blue Guillaume-Henri Dufour Thistle 29 March 1956
CHF50 5 front horizontal.jpg CHF50 5 back horizontal.jpg 50 francs 173 × 95 mm Green Head of a girl Apple harvest Pierre Gauchat 14 June 1957
CHF100 5 front horizontal.jpg CHF100 5 back horizontal.jpg 100 francs 191 × 105 mm Dark blue Head of a boy St Martin 14 June 1957
CHF500 5 front horizontal.jpg CHF500 5 back horizontal.jpg 500 francs 210 × 115 mm Brown-red Head of a woman Fountain of Youth 14 June 1957
CHF1000 5 front horizontal.jpg CHF1000 5 back horizontal.jpg 1000 francs 228 × 125 mm Purple Head of woman Danse Macabre 14 June 1957
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre.

Sixth series[edit]

6th series of Swiss banknotes[9]
Image Value Dimensions Main Colour Description Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse issue withdrawal lapse
Euler-10 Swiss Franc banknote (front).jpg CHF10 6 back horizontal.png 10 francs 137 × 66 mm Red Leonhard Euler Water turbine, the solar system and a scheme of propagation of rays of light passing through lenses 5 November 1979 1 May 2000 1 May 2020[10]
CHF20 6 front horizontal.png CHF20 6 back horizontal.png 20 francs 148 × 70 mm Blue Horace-Bénédict de Saussure Mountain range, a group of alpinists and the Ammonshorn 4 April 1979
CHF50 6 front horizontal.png CHF50 6 back horizontal.png 50 francs 159 × 74 mm Green Conrad Gessner Eagle owl, primula, stars 4 October 1978
CHF100 6 front horizontal.png CHF100 6 back horizontal.png 100 francs 170 × 78 mm Dark blue Francesco Borromini Upper part of the dome-tower as well as the floor plan of the church Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza 4 October 1976
CHF 500 Haller.jpg CHF500 6 back horizontal.png 500 francs 181 × 82 mm Brown Albrecht von Haller Muscular figure of a human body, graph of respiration and the circulation of the blood, and a purple orchis 4 April 1977
CHF1000 6 front horizontal.png CHF1000 6 back horizontal.png 1000 francs 192 × 86 mm Purple Auguste Forel Three ants and a cross-section of an anthill 4 April 1978
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre.

Seventh series[edit]

A seventh series of Swiss banknotes was designed and printed in 1984, in parallel with the sixth series, but was never released. It formed the reserve series, to be released, for example, if the current series would suddenly become widely counterfeited. At first, almost no information was released on the series for security reasons, except for small fragments. However, after the eighth series was released, it was decided to improve the security features of the current series rather than develop a new reserve series. The details of the seventh series were later released, while the actual banknotes were destroyed. The designer were Roger Pfund and Elisabeth Pfund. They had originally won the competition for the design of the sixth series, but since the Swiss National Bank decided to use the design by Ernst and Ursula Hiestand instead, the Pfunds were charged with the design of the reserve series.[11][12]

7th series of Swiss banknotes[9]
Image Value Dimensions Main Colour Description Date of issue
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
CHF10 7 front horizontal.jpg CHF10 7 back horizontal.jpg 10 francs 137 × 66 mm Red-brown Leonhard Euler; development of the polyhedron, the bridges of Königsberg Gamma function; table for the calculation of numbers; diagram of the Solar System Never issued (reserve series)
CHF20 7 front horizontal.jpg CHF20 7 back horizontal.jpg 20 francs 148 × 70 mm Blue Horace-Bénédict de Saussure; quartz crystals; Hornblende beam Hair hygrometer, view of the valley of Chamonix and the Mont Blanc massif; expedition to the Tacul glacier
CHF50 7 front horizontal.jpg CHF50 7 back horizontal.jpg 50 francs 159 × 74 mm Green Conrad Gessner; branch of a dwarf cherry tree; foliage of the bush Golden Eagle (based on a woodcut from Gessner's Historiae animalium); "Metamorphosis of animals"; Latin text from the Historiae Animalium referring to the seven-headed hydra
CHF100 7 front horizontal.jpg CHF100 7 back horizontal.jpg 100 francs 170 × 78 mm Dark blue Francesco Borromini; architectural motif from the Basilica of St. John Lateran Raising of the lantern and the spire of Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza; floor plan of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane; dove and olive branch
CHF500 7 front horizontal.jpg CHF500 7 back horizontal.jpg 500 francs 181 × 82 mm Brown Albrecht von Haller;hexagonal structure of the cell; cell tissue 18th century anatomy plate; x-ray of the human thorax; mountains, referring to his poem "The Alps"
CHF1000 7 front horizontal.jpg CHF1000 7 back horizontal.jpg 1000 francs 192 × 86 mm Purple Louis Agassiz; structure of the surface of a shellfish Head, skeleton and fossil of a perch; structure of the scales of a perch; ammonite
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre.

Eighth series[edit]

The eighth series of Swiss franc banknotes, designed by Jörg Zintzmeyer, is in circulation since 1995.

8th (current) series of Swiss banknotes[13]
Image Value Dimensions Main Colour Obverse Date of issue Reverse
Obverse Reverse
CHF10 8 front horizontal.jpg CHF10 8 back horizontal.jpg 10 francs 126 × 74 mm Yellow Le Corbusier 8 April 1997 Ground plan, government district of Indian city of Chandigarh
CHF20 8 front horizontal.jpg CHF20 8 back horizontal.jpg 20 francs 137 × 74 mm Red Arthur Honegger 1 October 1996 mouvement symphonique Pacific 231
CHF50 8 front horizontal.jpg CHF50 8 back horizontal.jpg 50 francs 148 × 74 mm Green Sophie Taeuber-Arp 3 October 1995 Tête Dada, 1919
CHF100 8 front horizontal.jpg CHF100 8 back horizontal.jpg 100 francs 159 × 74 mm Blue Alberto Giacometti 1 October 1998 L'Homme qui marche I
CHF200 8 front horizontal.jpg CHF200 8 back horizontal.jpg 200 francs 170 × 74 mm Brown Charles Ferdinand Ramuz 1 October 1997 Lac de Derborence/Diablerets, Lavaux
CHF1000 8 front horizontal.jpg CHF1000 8 back horizontal.jpg 1000 francs 181 × 74 mm Purple Jacob Burckhardt 1 April 1998 Palazzo Strozzi, Firenze
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre.

Ninth series[edit]

In 2005, the Swiss National Bank held a competition to determine the design of the next series of banknotes. The competition was won by Manuel Krebs, but his designs, which include depictions of blood cells and embryos, were met with sufficient opposition from the general public as to discourage the bank from going forward with them.[14] As a result, the ninth series of Swiss franc banknotes will be based on designs by second place finalist Manuela Pfrunder.[15] The series was scheduled to be issued around 2010 but was delayed to 2015 due to technical problems in the production.[2][16]

Security and counterfeiting[edit]

The current banknotes series possesses at least eighteen security features.[17]

According to the central banks, the ratio of counterfeited bank notes is about 10 in one million of real bank notes for the Swiss franc, of 50 in one million for the Euro, of 100 in one million for the United States dollar and of 300 in one million for the Pound sterling.[18]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Billets de banque in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
    A. Meier
    Monnaies....
  2. ^ a b Curtis, Malcolm (27 Mar 2013). "Swiss money really is dirty: UK scientists". The Local (Switzerland edition). Retrieved 3 July 2013. "The Swiss National Bank, responsible for producing Switzerland’s money, is planning to introduce new banknotes in 2015 after several delays due to technical problems with paper." 
  3. ^ All banknote series of the SNB, on the website of the Swiss National Bank. Last accessed 1 June 2007.
  4. ^ First banknote series 1907, on the website of the Swiss National Bank. Last accessed 1 June 2007.
  5. ^ Second banknote series 1911, on the website of the Swiss National Bank. Last accessed 1 June 2007.
  6. ^ Third banknote series 1918, on the website of the Swiss National Bank. Last accessed 1 June 2007.
  7. ^ Fourth banknote series 1938, on the website of the Swiss National Bank. Last accessed 1 June 2007.
  8. ^ Fifth banknote series 1957, on the website of the Swiss National Bank. Last accessed 30 September 2007.
  9. ^ a b Sixth banknote series 1976, on the website of the Swiss National Bank. Last accessed 1 June 2007.
  10. ^ Sixth series, on the website of the Swiss National Bank. Last accessed 30 August 2012.
  11. ^ Seventh banknote series, on the website of the Swiss National Bank. Last accessed 30 September 2007.
  12. ^ Jean-Marc Côté, "Habiller l'argent : Roger Pfund", Bulletin de l'Association des Numismates Francophones du Canada. Last accessed 1 June 2007.
  13. ^ Eighth banknote series 1995, on the website of the Swiss National Bank. Last accessed 1 June 2007.
  14. ^ Swiss distressed over currency redesign, 8 December 2005 article on the website of the International Herald Tribune. Last accessed 1 June 2007.
  15. ^ New banknotes project on the website of the Swiss National Bank. Last accessed 1 June 2007.
  16. ^ Press release of 13 december 2012: Issue of new banknote series delayed. Last accessed 5 September 2012
  17. ^ An overview of the security features, Swiss National Bank (page visited on 11 October 2013).
  18. ^ (French) Michel Beuret, "Les mystères de la fausse monnaie", Allez savoir !, no. 50, May 2011.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Michel de Rivaz, The Swiss banknote: 1907–1997. Genoud, 1997. ISBN 2-88100-080-0
  • Albert Meier: Monnaies - Billets de Banque. Suisse - Liechtenstein 1798-1995. Hünibach 1996

See also[edit]

External links[edit]