Switzerland’s numismatic journey through its Alpine routes continues with the Furka Pass from 007’s Goldfinger

Following last years yodel down the Klausen Pass for their first issue in the Swiss Alpine Passes series of silver coins, the Swiss Mint is back with the Furka Pass. This is another of those epic-looking routes that make you wish you had a LaFerrari. It was certainly epic enough for the James Bond movie ‘Goldfinger’ which had some super scenes set on this twisty route, with his Aston Martin looking spectacular, of course.

The coin is a standard Swiss Mint format and it’s one not used very often these days. The 20g weight isn’t particularly unusual these days, but the 0.835 fineness is. There are two finishes available as usual. The proof finish coin comes in a box with a certificate of authenticity and has a mintage of 5,000 pieces. This sells for 60 CHF, although a run of 100 with a signed certificate (by the artist) was also available for an additional 10 CHF, but as always, these sold out immediately.

The uncirculated finish coin has an identical specification, but sells for just 30 CHF encapsulated, or 40 CHF in the coloured gatefold card you see below. This has a combined mintage of 20,000 pieces (down 10k on 2018’s), with just 1,000 of those card-mounted. Given how much cheaper this is than the proof, it has to be seen as a comparative bargain.

Very much in the same vein as the Klausen Pass design, the contour-map background is a neat touch, although the bus lacks the glamour of the cool racing car of the debut issue. An interesting series that seems destined to be successful in showcasing the spectacular driving routes of this special country. Available now.

MINTS DESCRIPTION

At an altitude of 2429 metres above sea level, the Furka Pass is one of the highest and most impressive Alpine passes in Switzerland. It connects the hamlet of Gletsch in the canton of Valais with Andermatt in the canton of Uri and, together with the Oberalp Pass, forms an east-west link within the Alps. The area is one of the snowiest in Switzerland. The European watershed runs along the pass: the Rhone flows southwest towards the Mediterranean, while the (Furka-)Reuss sweeps northeast into the Rhine and the North Sea.

The first landmark event in Furka Pass traffic to be documented was around the 12th century, when hundreds of German-speaking Walser people settled with their families in the Urseren Valley or even further east in Raetia. In the 14th century, the route over the pass summit at 2429 metres a.s.l. gained in importance for the Walser people because it granted them direct access to the transalpine axis via the Gotthard. Between 1864 and 1866, the almost 40-kilometre-long and at least 4.20 metres wide road from Hospental to Oberwald was built by the cantons of Uri and Valais.

Whether by bicycle, motorbike, car, postal bus or historic steam train on the cogwheel mountain route – every year more than 250,000 people cross the Furka Pass and enjoy the spectacular view. For example from the famous Hotel Belvédère on the Rhone glacier or the surrounding alpine granite world.

The 20-franc silver coin was designed by Vito Noto. It is available in the qualities “uncirculated” and “proof” in a presentation case at our online-shop or from selected coin dealers and some banks.

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SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION 20 CHF (Switzerland)
COMPOSITION 0.835 silver
WEIGHT 20.0 grams
DIMENSIONS 33.0 mm
FINISH Proof or Uncirculated
PROOF MINTAGE 5,000
BU MINTAGE 20,000
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes (Proof)