The Swiss Mint has released (24th November) new commemorative 20-franc coins which remember the 50th anniversary of the untimely death of one of the country’s beloved folk singers. Hans Peter “Mani” Matter (1936–1972) is remembered as popularising the Bernese dialect in his songs composed from an early age. Inspired by older Bernese folk singers, only a few who ever attained national recognition, he began writing, composing, and interpreting Bernese German traditional poems and songs as a teenager. Despite having grown up in Bern and in a family where only French was spoken, Matter began performing his own songs in contemporary Bernese German at local venues and on the radio, accompanying himself on the guitar. As Matter was an active Boy Scout in the Pfadicorps Patria in Bern, in fact, this is where he was given the nickname of “Mati.” He would often perform his own songs first during Boy Scout evenings.
A declaration that he was unfit for military service due to health issues enabled Matter to enrol in University of Bern where he first studied German for a semester then switched to law, graduating in 1963 and passing the Bernese Bar to practise law. During these years, Matter was heard on Swiss radio for the first time in 1960, and in 1965 he published the first three of his commercially successful songs in the anthology Ballade, Lumpeliedli and Chansons à la Bernoise. In 1966 Mani Matter recorded his first studio album entitled I Han En Uhr Erfunde (“I invented a clock”) was released which included recordings from live performances. In 1967 Matter was making public appearances, always accompanied by the Berner Troubadours, but it was only in late 1971 that he embarked on his first solo engagements with his first performance at the Kleintheater in Lucerne. Performing together with the Berner Troubadours and as a solo act, Matter began developing a loyal following where his Bernese German songs became very popular in the Swiss German-speaking part of Switzerland, ultimately in all of the country. Matter and his work increased interest in Switzerland, Germany, and Austria and became a great influence on the dialect music scene in Bern and during his lifetime, his songs were frequently covered.
Sadly on the evening of the 24th November 1972, on the way to a concert in Rapperswil, his life and promising career were cut short when he collided with a truck on the autobahn and died on impact at the age of just 36 years old. He was survived by his wife and three children. His body of works, including recordings and lyrics, are preserved and archived in the Swiss Literary Archives in Bern. The popularity of Mani Matter and his songs are still unbroken 50 years after his accidental death. A collection of cover-versions was recorded in 1992 by well-known Swiss singers on the album Matter Rock and today, Mani Matter’s songs are often taught at school, including classes for adults wanting to learn Bernese German, which were well known for their mild irony. In 2017, Mani Matter received a posthumous lifetime achievement accolade at the Swiss Music Awards.
The Mani Matter 20-franc commemorative coins are the first produced by the Swiss Mint with an alloy of 999.9 pure silver rather than the previous .835 standard and minted under the new brand “Federal commemorative coins.” The coin is designed by Swiss Mint artisan Remo Mascherini, whose primary design on the obverse includes an image of Mani Matter based on a publicity photograph taken shortly before the singer’s death in 1972. To the left of the front-facing portrait are an outline of a guitar, and the text MANI MATTER with the years 1936 and 1972. The reverse side depicts a bird and a mask, both drawings by Mani Matter, as well as a score of music from the song in the Bernese dialect entitled Dr. Alpeflug, which flows from the mask’s open mouth; the corresponding lyrics are shown below it. The primary design is surrounded by the text CONFEDERATIO HELVETICA along with the year of issue 2022 and the denomination of 20 FR. The mintmark B, denoting the Bern Mint, and designation of the coin’s silver fineness of 999.9 is also shown near the year.
|20 g||33 mm||Brilliant Unc.||
|20 g||33 mm||Proof||
Each Proof coin is encapsulated and presented in a heavy-gauge card case accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. The Brilliant Uncirculated examples are heat-sealed in a clear flat holder. *From the 3,300 Proof coins, a total of 250 coins will be available with a numbered certificate of authenticity signed by the artist. For more information about these and other coins available from the Swiss Mint, please click here.
2 dollar uncirculated remembrance Day colored coin from Royal Australian Mint is creating waves ( not sure for wrong or right reasons, limited mintage of 60k – which I think is not low but perhaps compared to 0.5 M in 2012 when it was originally introduced, distribution of coins , ballot, number of coins allowed per customer and above all obnoxious price in secondary markets). Commentary / Coverage from you is most desirable on these topics
M Alexander says
I had wanted to cover these coins but, as you pointed out, the purchase seemed to be restricted to ballots and in this regard it’s always disheartening to include coins here which readers may have an almost impossible chance to buy. It is true I do include coins which will in a few cases can only be sought on auction websites and for the most part we do include alot of coins from Australia.
I simply do not understand why some coins which ostensibly will be popular with collectors are oddly restricted in terms of mintage and availability and I have commented on this topic before. I have also commented on and perhaps condemned the practise of non-collectors obtaining coins on their day of issue often in person and immediately offering them on auction sites at extortionate prices – this is a distortion to the market and also unfair to genuine collectors and needs to be addressed by the Mints. As I am not a policy-maker in this regard however, I am a collector and am losing patience with automated webpage queues, ballots and allocations. This does nothing for the secondary market going forward and will I believe end up deterring future collectors.