16 April 2021
Swissmint has been awarded two Guinness World Records for the world's smallest commemorative coin, and the oldest unaltered coin still in circulation.
Guinness World Records has recognised the ¼-franc gold coin issued in 2020 as the world's smallest commemorative coin, and the 10-centime coin as the oldest unaltered coin still in circulation.
Apart from the year date, the obverse and reverse of the 10-centime coin have remained the same since 1879.
The world's smallest commemorative coin
In 2020 Swissmint designed a gold coin with a diameter of only 2.96mm and weighing 0.063g.
Despite its diminutive size, the coin's obverse and reverse are machine-minted, each with a different design.
A spokesperson for Swissmint said:
'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. The reverse shows the nominal value of ¼ franc together with the inscription "HELVETIA" and the Swiss cross.'
With a diameter of only 2.96mm and weighing 0.063g, the world's smallest commemorative coin is decorated with images that cannot be discerned with the naked eye. Swissmint has therefore designed special packaging, complete with magnifying lenses and light. Only 999 examples of the coin were produced and it has now sold out.
10-centime coin in circulation and unaltered since 1879
In 1853, five years after the Swiss Federal Constitution was introduced, the first Swiss coins were minted in the Federal Mint in Bern.
The first 10-centime coins bore the image of a Swiss cross on a shield in front of oak leaves, with the inscription "HELVETIA".
It was not 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 2/4 10-centime coin to this day.
Moreover, 10-centime coins minted in 1879 and still in circulation continue to be valid as legal tender. The unaltered coin has thus been in use for over 140 years, and has now been recognised as the world's oldest coin still in circulation.