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Switzerland 2003 Shooting Thaler - Basel Shooting Festival - California 1849 Gold Rush Forty-Niner Panning for Gold and General Johann August Sutter 50 Swiss Francs Taler 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 an allegorical 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 Swiss Canton of Basel-Stadt (for which Basel the city is the cantonal capital). 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!

Click here for our entire selection of Swiss Shooting Thalers!

A miner forty-niner of the 1849 California Gold Rush panning for gold in them thar hills!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.

Click here for more great coins & medals featuring military themes!

A Beautiful, Historical Design
An 1866 oil on canvas painting of Swiss American General Johann John August Sutter, originator of the California Gold Rush of 1849 at Sutter's Mill.What's the connection between Switzerland and the California gold rush of 1849, you ask? (Or, why is there a miner forty-niner panning for gold on the obverse of this Swiss coin?) Well, the link is more significant than most Americans (or Swiss, for that matter!) may realize! You see, in 1834, an adventurous Old World youth, recently having served in the Swiss military, traveled to New York to seek his fortune. This young man was Johann August Sutter. By 1839 he had established Sutter's Fort in California. Nine years later, in 1848, gold was first discovered at Sutter's Mill, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The obverse depicts a miner forty-niner of the California gold rush panning for gold, with the denomination of 50 Francs indicated below this vignette. The legend indicates (in German, one of the four official languages of Switzerland) that the coin is redeemable during the shooting festival (not that you'd want to!).

The reverse features a portrait of General John August Sutter (taken from the 1866 painting shown at right). Beneath him, in the garland of flora, are three shields or coat of arms. The center one bears the Swiss national cross, while the one to the left is the coat of arms of Basel, and the one to the right bears the bear and star of the California flag. To the left, one can find a pair of crossed rifles or muskets. The dual dates commemorate the bicentennial or 200th anniversary of Sutter's birth in 1803.

Click here for other great allegorical coins!

Each coin is encapsulated and includes an official certificate of authenticity. The coins were not issued in a box.
SpecificationsAn 1850 photograph of Sutter's Mill, the site of the first gold discovery in California that set off the California Gold Rush of 1849.
Country Switzerland
Year of Issue 2003
Face Value 50 Francs
Weight 25.00 g
Diameter 37.00 mm
Mintage Limit      1,500
Finish Proof
Composition .900 Fine Silver
Edge Plain
Certificate Included
Packaging Encapsulated

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