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A History of Swiss Money

We Swiss are famous for our banks. Whether we like our bank secret or not is a different question. Fact is, Switzerland has been a major banking center for quite a while now.

However, the grand majority of Swiss bank accounts is pretty unspectacular. No secret entrances, elaborate identifying procedures or strange codes. The average Swiss citizen watches the numbers in his bank account grow and diminish and takes out some cash at the ATM; depending among other on the salary that enters the account each month. Some more daring people might invest their money in bonds or stocks but generally having a regular Swiss bank account is nothing like it's portrayed in the movies.

How and why banknotes are changed

Money can be very interesting though. Whereas in earlier times money was exclusively an instrument of payment, it nowadays has become through and through elaborated and even a designer object. Safety measures for banknotes need to be renewed every so often. Many countries take that opportunity to not only improve the hidden security features but also subject the banknotes to a complete redesign.

This is especially true of the Swiss National Bank. Since 1907 there have been no less than eight (!) series of banknotes and the ninth series has just recently entered the market. This means that every 10 or 15 years we change our banknotes. In comparison, the US hasn't changed the design of their banknotes in almost a century although they did add some security features in more recent years!

Swiss Banknotes through the Centuries

Since I am a fan of Swiss design and I hope you are too, I believe you'll enjoy this short  nostalgic journey back through the history of Swiss banknotes. These are the designs of Swiss banknotes from the last and current century. Currently, bank notes from the 8th and 9th series are valid and in circulation.

1907 - 1st Series

1911 - 2nd Series

1918 - 3rd Series (feat. Willhelm Tell)

1938 - 4th Series

1956 - 5th Series

1978 - 6th Series

1984 - 7th Series (never issued)

1995 - 8th Series (in circulation)

2016 - 9th Series (in circulation)

Source: Swiss National Bank,



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