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Switzerland 2005 Shooting Thaler - Brusio National Shooting Festival - UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Bernina Railroad Spiral Loop Bridge, Train & Locomotive 50 Swiss Francs Taler High Relief Silver Proof

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Product Description

This rare and truly beautiful silver proof follows in a long line of Swiss Shooting Thalers, with a dual allegorical and railroad design!

An aerial view of the Bernina Railway Spiral Loop Bridge with a railroad locomotive and train, near Brusio, in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland.Talisman Coins is honored to be able to bring you this beautiful, proof finish Shooting Thaler. This year's National Shooting Festival is held in the City of Brusio, in the Swiss Canton of Graubünden. We've managed to secure a few of the silver 50 Francs from a total mintage of only 1,500! 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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An aerial view of the Bernina Railway Spiral Loop Bridge with a railroad locomotive and train, near Brusio, in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland.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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An Allegory Coupled with an Historic Railway Design
Switzerland_1931-B_5_Francs_Silver_Coin_William_Tell_obverse_and_reverse.jpg Here's an extremely handsome silver proof engraved with high relief, in the finest tradition of medallic art! So detailed and meticulous is the engraving that under a loupe, each individual stone and brick in the railroad spiral bridge can be discerned! The perspective in this coin is amazing, in part due to the artistic excellence of the sculptor / engraver, and in part due to the use of high relief, which allows for more depth of design. Even the traditional motif around the rim is significantly raised above the field.

In the foreground, a beautiful Swiss lass in a sheer, flowing dress gestures to the Bernina Railway Spiral Loop (more on this below) behind her with a gentle sweep of her arm. The lady in question is an allegorical figure. She may be interpreted as the town of Brusio and/or the Canton of Graubünden. Likewise, she could also be interpreted as Helvetia; her classical Roman-style toga garb is consistent with many representations of Helvetia, including the spear-armed lass on much of Swiss circulating coinage. (Helvetia is the allegorical female personification of the Swiss Republic.)

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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!).

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An aerial view of the Bernina Railway Spiral Loop Bridge with a railroad locomotive and train, near Brusio, in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland.The Bernina Railway Spiral Loop Bridge
The Bernina Railway is a single track meter gauge railway line forming part of the Rhaetian Railway (RhB). It links the spa resort of St. Moritz, in the Canton of Graubünden, Switzerland, with the town of Tirano, in the Province of Sondrio, Italy, via the Bernina Pass. It also ranks as the highest adhesion railway in the Alps, and - with inclines of up to 7% - as one of the steepest adhesion railways in the world. The most famous trains operating on the Bernina Railway are known as the Bernina Express.

On 7 July 2008, the Bernina Railway and the Albula Railway, which also forms part of the RhB, were recorded in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, under the name "Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes". The whole site is regarded as a border-straddling Swiss-Italian joint heritage area.

The famous circular bridge or viaduct near Brusio on the Bernina line is depicted on the coin. It was built to accommodate the sixty-five foot vertical drop to the valley ground by providing a manageable grade. It is properly called a spiral loop (sometimes simply a spiral, or a loop), and is a kind of above ground "tunnel". A railway spiral rises on a steady curve until it has completed a loop, passing over itself as it gains height, allowing the railway to gain vertical elevation in a relatively short horizontal distance. It is an alternative to a zig-zag, and avoids the need for the trains to stop and reverse direction while ascending. If the train is of sufficient length, it is possible to view the train looping onto itself!

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Each coin is encapsulated and includes an official certificate of authenticity. The coins were not issued in a box.
Country Switzerland
Year of Issue 2005
Face Value 50 Francs
Weight 25.00 g
Diameter 37.00 mm
Mintage Limit    1,500
Finish Proof
Composition .925 Fine Silver
Edge Reeded (milled, serrated)
Certificate Included
Packaging Encapsulated

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