Reid W. writes: Concerning the Swiss half-franc coin: Can you give an explanation of the design symbolism of the walking Republic figure, including the stars surrounding her and the spear or arrow. I am especially curious to learn the meaning of the legend underneath, “Helvetia”. Thanks very much for any guidance.
The 1/2 franc you have is a Swiss (Helvetia) [100 rappen= 1 Franc]. The standing figure represents the defense of the Union (The Swiss Guards). Helvetia is the female national personification of Switzerland, officially Confoederatio Helvetica, the “Helvetic Confederation”. The 22 stars (1982 and before) represent the Cantons that make up the Swiss Federation.
All 22 Cantons in Switzerland are listed below:
11. St. Gallen