The Swiss Mint has launched (28th January) a new coin featuring the Gotthard Tunnel, an immense project of industrial and technical fortitude which required the movement of over 28 million tons of excavated rock. This perseverance and determination will be rewarded when the tunnel is declared open on June 1, 2016, 17 years after the first blast in the main shaft, at which time the Gotthard will be world’s longest rail tunnel.
The Gotthard mountain range has always played a special role in the lives of people on both sides of the Alps. For centuries, merchants transported all sorts of goods over the Gotthard Pass on their mules. Despite major risks, this was a very busy road as it was the shortest connection over the Alps.
The advent of the railway and the building of the first Gotthard Tunnel brought about radical change. The mountain pass was stripped of its previous importance overnight by the capacity of the rail link that opened in 1882. The road tunnel which opened in 1980 revolutionized the trans-alpine traffic once more. This year, a new chapter is being written in Gotthard’s long transport history. After a construction period of 17 years, the experts and engineers are set to complete the 57-kilometer (35-mile) Gotthard Base Tunnel on time.
The coin, designed by graphic artist Fredy Trumpi, shows the tunnel’s north portal in Erstfeld, along with the type of train which will use the tunnel. The text “GOTTARDO” and the year of issue is placed below the train.
The reverse side includes the text “CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA” and “2016” arranged in various semi-circles. A cross of the Swiss federation and the coin’s denomination is also included.
|20 Francs||.835 silver||20 grams||33 mm.||BU||30,000 pieces|
|20 Francs||.835 silver||20 grams||33 mm.||Proof||5000 pieces|
The official opening ceremony of the world’s longest tunnel will be held at both tunnel portals in June of 2016. Another coin in gold showing the south portal in Bodio will be issued on May 26, 2016. The Uncirculated pieces are sold in a blister pack, while the Proof coins are sold in presentation cases with numbered certificates of authenticity.
For more information on this and other coins offered by the Swiss Mint, please visit their Web site. Information is offered in English, French, German and Italian, with international sales dispatched where applicable.