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Switzerland 2007 Shooting Thaler - Lucerne Shooting Festival - William Tell with Crossbow 50 Swiss Francs Taler Silver Proof

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99970
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Product Description

This rare and truly beautiful silver proof follows in a long line of Swiss Shooting Thalers with an historical design!

Sold out at the Mint!Talisman Coins is honored to be able to bring you this beautiful, proof finish Shooting Thaler. This year's Shooting Festival is held in the City of Lucerne, in the Canton of Lucerne (for which the city is the cantonal capital). We've managed to secure a few of the 50 Francs from a total mintage of only 2,000! These hard to find Shooting Thalers (or Talers; so-called from the days when that was their face value) have been issued since the mid-1800s in tiny numbers, and are very collectible, to say nothing of extremely attractive!

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Detail from the Statue of William Tell and his son Walter in Altdorf, Switzerland, executed by the Swiss sculptor Richard Kissling in 1895.Shooting Festivals
Swiss marksmanship is legendary, dating to the hero William Tell (who shot an apple off his son's head). This tradition of superior marksmanship was established during the Old Swiss Confederacy, in the 15th century, when Shooting Festival participants showed off their aim using the crossbow. Of course, Shooting Festivals are meant to be fun, but they have a practical side, too - they keep the citizen soldiery drilled and sharp! This has always been of particular importance in a country like Switzerland, with a relatively small population and surrounded on all sides by potential enemies.

Calling shooting is the national sport of Switzerland would be an understatement, to say the least! Today, the Swiss Shooting Association boasts 85,000 active, dues paying members! That amounts to over 1% of the total population! At a Swiss Federal Shooting Festival (a major event, held every five years), over 50,000 marksmen will convene for four weeks to demonstrate their shooting skills.

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A Beautiful, Historical Design
Here's a handsomely engraved, full body portrait of the archer and marksman William Tell, the legendary Swiss archer. The vignette depicts him crouched on the ground, at the pivotal moment of his life. Leaning on his crossbow, he points to his son, Walter, from whose head he must shoot an apple or die. One can imagine the most obvious instruction he gives his son - Don't move! It is interesting to note that a similar, bust portrait of William Tell appears on the Swiss 5 Francs coin to this day.

On the reverse, the traditional wreath of oak leaves (on the left) and laurel (on the right) surround the denomination of 50 Francs. Beneath the wreath, a marksman's powder horn and bandolier hang from a pair of crossed rifles or muskets. The legend indicates (in both French and German, two of the four official languages of Switzerland) that the coin is redeemable during the shooting festival (not that you'd want to!).

The Legend of William Tell
Switzerland_1931-B_5_Francs_Silver_Coin_William_Tell_obverse_and_reverse.jpgWilliam Tell, who originally hailed from Burglen, was known as an expert marksman with the crossbow. At the time, the Hapsburg emperors of Austria were seeking to dominate Uri. Hermann Gessler, the newly appointed Austrian Vogt (Reeve) of Altdorf, raised a pole in the village's central square, hung his hat on top of it, and demanded that all the local townsfolk bow before the hat. When Tell passed by the hat without bowing to it, he was arrested. His punishment was decreed as being forced to shoot an apple off the head of his son, Walter, or else both would be executed. Tell was promised freedom if he successfully shot the apple.

On 18 November 1307, Tell split the fruit with a single bolt from his crossbow, without mishap. When Gessler queried him about the purpose of a second bolt in his quiver, Tell answered that if he had killed his son, he would have turned the crossbow on Gessler himself. Gessler became enraged at that comment, and had Tell bound and brought to his ship to be taken to his castle at Kussnacht. But when a storm broke out on Lake Lucerne, Tell managed to escape. By land, he went to Kussnacht and arrived ahead of the Vogt. When Gessler arrived, Tell shot him with his crossbow. Tell's defiance of Gessler sparked a rebellion, in which Tell himself acted out a leading part, leading to the formation of the Swiss Confederation.

William Tell fought in the Battle of Morgarten in 1315. He died in 1354 while trying to save a child from drowning in the Schachenbach, an alpine river near Uri. A fresco in a chapel in Burglen, which dates to 1582, depicts this scene.

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SpecificationsThe statue of William Tell and his son Walter in Altdorf, Switzerland, executed by the Swiss sculptor Richard Kissling in 1895.
Country Switzerland
Year of Issue 2007
   
Face Value 50 Francs
Weight 25.00 g
Diameter 37.00 mm
Mintage Limit    2,000
   
Finish Proof
Composition .900 Fine Silver
Edge Reeded (milled, serrated)
   
Certificate Included
Packaging Encapsulated

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