Swiss Vreneli

The Swiss Vreneli gold coins were minted in three different versions from 1897 to 1949. The Swiss made Vreneli are investment grade coins and are among the most recognized bullion coins in Europe and around the world. When kept in good condition the Vreneli can also have a collector's value, especially the relatively rare 100-Francs Vreneli. The 20-Francs Vreneli gold coin is the most popular coin for investors. The Swiss 20 Franc Vreneli has a rich history and is one of the world’s classic gold coins. The purity is also backed by the Swiss Government.


History of the Swiss Vreneli gold coins

The history of Swiss Vreneli gold coins began even before the first year of mintage in 1897. In the time from 1883 to 1896 the first Swiss gold coin called "Helvetia" was issued and is the predecessor of the Vreneli series. The Helvetia 20 Francs gold coin has a fine weight of 5.80g and a fineness of 900/1000. A total of 1.75 million pieces of the Helvetia were struck.


New look

This Swiss Helvetia gold coin, in the view of the Swiss Federal Finance Department, was not “Swiss” enough and thus needed to be more of a historical-symbolic representation of Switzerland. Therefore, in 1895 the Swiss Federal Council decided to transform the "Helvetia" gold coin series. For this reason, a competition was initiated for the best design of the new coin.

In May of 1895, a  21 persons jury assessed the submitted designs. The second prize was awarded to Fritz Ulysse Landry. Mr. Landry’s first draft was considered to enthusiastic, young and individual. In addition the depicted mountain scenery was viewed as too powerful. At the suggestion of the Federal Department of Finance, Mr. Landry revised his design and received the first prize. 

In 1897 the Swiss Federal Council received 12 sample copies of the new gold coin, but the design was criticized by the magistrate, as the main motive showed a "frivolous forelock". After the hair lock was removed, the coin design went into production. From 1897 on the new 20 Franc gold coin was minted.


Name of the coin

The name of the new coin was changed from Helvetia to Vreneli. This occurred because the word Vreneli is a diminutive of Verena, which in turn represented the woman image of Fritz Ulysse Landry.


Three varios Vreneli Gold Coins


20 Francs Vreneli

The 20 Francs Vreneli gold coin is the main coin of the series. In the years of 1897 to 1949 a total circulation of 58.6 million units was coined. With a fine weight of 5.807g, a fineness of 900/1000 and a nominal value of CHF 20 the coin is ideal for investors as it carries the lowest premium in the gold coin series.


Name/Nominal Value Fine Weight Fineness Diameter Thickness
20-Franken Vreneli 5,807g 900/1000 21,0mm 1,25mm


10 Francs Vreneli

The 10 Francs Vreneli was coined from 1911 until 1922 with a total circulation of 2.6 million units. The fine weight is 2.903g with a fineness of 900/1000. The coin usually has a higher premium than the 20 Francs Vreneli.


Name/Nominal Value Fine Weight Fineness Diameter Thickness
10-Franken Vreneli 2,903g 900/1000 19,0mm 0,9mm


100 Francs Vreneli

The rarest Vreneli gold coin is the 100 Francs gold coin. The gold coin was minted only in 1925 in a limited edition of 5,000 copies. With a fine weight of 29.032g and a fineness of 900/1000 the 100 Francs Vreneli is considered to be a rare collectors item.


Name/Nominal Value Fine Weight Fineness Diameter Thickness
100-Franken Vreneli 29,032g 900/1000 35,0mm 2,2mm


Alloy & Fineness

Gold Vrenelis have a fineness of 900/1000. The alloy components are 90% gold and 10% copper. The high copper content gives the coin its typical red-golden color, similar to that of the Krugerrand and English Sovereign. The advantage of copper as an alloying component is the improved scratch resistance, since copper unlike gold is a very hard precious metal. The disadvantage is the change of color as copper naturally corrodes.



Vreneli gold coins have an edge bar and decorative circle on each side. The edge bar improves the stackability and protects the designs from damage. The knurling is smooth and is decorated with raised stars.


On the obverse an image of a woman with braided hair can be seen. The design is shown in profile and around her neck she wears a wreath of Edelweiss flowers. A majestic depiction of the Swiss Alps can be seen in the background. The inscription reads "Helvetia" and is arranged at the edge on the design.


The main motive of the back is a Swiss cross, which is represented on a striped plate. The motif is surrounded by oak leaves which symbolizes military strength. Imprinted to the right and left of the motif is the nominal value. Below the year of issue the mint mark "B" is imprinted which means the town Bern.



The Vreneli is a recognized bullion coin and therefore exempt from VAT.



  • Name: Vreneli Gold Coin Series
  • Country: Switzerland
  • Years of Mintage: 1897-1949
  • Fineness: 900/1000
  • Scratch resistance: Good
  • 90% gold and 10% copper
  • Neuchâtel artist Fritz Ulysse Landry
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