header Notes Collection

20 Franken 1922, Switzerland

in Krause book Number: 27a
Years of issue: 01.07.1922
Edition: Serie: 5Q-6X - 3,3 mln.
Signatures: Der Präsident des Bankrates: Herr Johann Daniel Hirter (1906 - 1923), Der Hauptkassier: Herr K. Bornhauser (1913 - 1936), Ein Mitglied des Direktoriums: Herr Charles Schnyder von Wartensee (15.07.1920 - 30.06.1937)
Serie: Second Series
Specimen of: 31.07.1914
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 163 х 95
Printer: Orell Füssli, Zürich

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

20 Franken 1922




20 Franken 1922

VreneliOn the left side is a woman's profile - Vreneli.

This informal name of Swiss personification were used on gold coins and this banknote as well.

VreneliIt all started with the fact, that the design team produced images of gold coins, which began to be minted in 1897. The country needed a new, fresh image-personification. The image of the girl was subjected to harsh criticism of the leadership. They thought, that she was too young (inexperienced respectively) and unworthy to represent the country.

The official release of the Swiss Numismatics wrote: "Besser wäre unser Land durch Wilhelm Tell oder durch die Mannen vom Rütli dargestellt worden." (It would be better if our country was represented by William Tell or men from a mountain meadow Rütli). However, after the issuance by the jury of the issue to a vote revealed, that the image is very fond of the population and at 6 of January 1896 it was approved as official image of Switzerland - Vreneli.

Where does the name means?

There are two versions:

1) With the same name is the heroine of the epic about William Tell.

2) Vreneli - is distorted of Verena, which could go from Verena Thebes.

Verena is venerated as a saint by the Coptic Orthodox Church, by the Roman Catholic Church, and by the Eastern Orthodox Church. According to tradition, she was associated with the Theban Legion and died on the 4th day of Thout (September 14).

Tradition states that she was brought up in the 3rd century in the Theban region (modern day Luxor in Upper Egypt) in a noble Christian family, who handed her over to Bishop Sherimon, Bishop of Beni Suef, who in turn taught her and baptized her as a Christian.

According to tradition, Saint Verena joined the Theban Legion in its mission to Rhaetia (part of modern day Switzerland) and was a relative of Saint Victor of the Theban Legion. The soldiers' relatives were allowed to accompany them in order to look after them and take care of their wounds.

When Saint Maurice, Saint Victor and the other members of the Theban Legion were martyred, Saint Verena led the life of a hermit. First, she settled in a place called Solothurn, but later moved into a cave near present-day Zurich. She comes from Garagous village, Qous, Qena, Egypt. As a hermit, Verena fasted and prayed continuously. According to tradition, she performed several miracles. Verena was particularly concerned over young girls and used to look after them spiritually and physically, due to her expertise as a nurse.

As a result of her fame, legend states that the local governor arrested her and sent her to jail, where Saint Maurice appeared to her to console and strengthen her. She was released from jail, and continued to perform miracles. Due to her, many converted to Christianity. Saint Verena was interested in serving the poor and used to offer them food. Moreover, she enjoyed serving the sick, especially those suffering from leprosy. She used to wash their wounds and put ointments on them, not fearing infection. She died in Switzerland.

Centered, at the top, is the silver cross as Swiss emblem. The cross reminds us that Switzerland's sovereignty is inviolable. For many centuries, the logo has remained virtually unchanged.

Arched upward along the curve of the banknote's uppermost boundary is the German title of the Swiss National Bank, "SCHWEIZERISCHE NATIONALBANK". Printed horizontally below it, in a smaller font, is the Italian "BANCA NAZIONALE SVIZZRA", and underneath that, in a font larger than the Italian, is the French "BANQUE NATIONALE SUISSE". The German words "GESETZGEBUNG ÜBER DIE SCHWEIZ NAT.BANK" ("Legislation on the Swiss National Bank") are written on two lines, separated between "DIE" and "SCHWEIZ", below the word "BANQUE" and the first two letters of "NATIONALE" in the French bank title above. These German words are written in a small font, and each line is enclosed within a rectangular border. In the middle of the note the German "ZWANZIG FRANKEN", French "VINGT FRANCS", and Italian "VENTI FRANCHI" are printed larger inside of their own rectangular boundaries. The German and French values are placed on one line, the German located at the left and the French at the right, while the Italian value is given its own line below. Written in the area underneath the French and Italian values is "BERN UND ZÜRICH" ("Bern and Zürich") on one line and "1 July 1922" on the second, with both lines inside their own rectangular frames. Such text signifies that the note would have been issued at Bern and Zürich, and was printed on July 1, 1922. Near the bottom border of the note in the order listed are the signatures of K. Bornhauser, the Chief Cashier; Johann-Daniel Hirter (1855-1926), the President of the Bank Council; and either Gottlieb Bachmann (1874-1947) or Charles Schnyder von Wartensee (1874-1957), members of the Board of Directors. Captioned above Bornhauser's signature is "DER HAUPTKASSIER" ("Chief Cashier"), printed above Hirter's is "DER PRÄSIDENT DES BANKRATES" ("The President of the Bank Council"), and written above the third signature is "EIN MITGLIED DES DIREKTORIUMS" ("A member of the Board of Directors").


20 Franken 1922

A decorative border is present along the edges of the note's reverse. In the center of the upper and lower borders is a round design element. Inside of this element on the top border is the coat of arms of Switzerland, slightly different in design from the arms presented on the obverse. The numeral "20" is printed in each of the corners of the note, inside of flower-like boundaries decorated with elaborate designs. A large "20" is also present in the middle of the reverse, printed over an ornate background. Encircling it is an ovular border bearing the titles of the Swiss National Bank in German, French, and Italian. The German "SCHWEIZERISCHE NATIONALBANK" is printed in a clockwise direction at the top of the border, while the French "BANQUE NATIONALE SUISSE" and Italian "BANCA NAZIONALE SVIZZERA" are written in that order in a counterclockwise direction at the bottom.


Graphic artist: S. Balzer.

Release of 20 Francs banknotes in interwar period was due to a specific cause: There was concern, that people will hoard 20 francs gold coins (Vreneli) and country will run short of money. In this case this note was released.

This banknotes were recalled by the Bank at 31.12.1935.

Deprived par from January 1, 1956.

Parallel with this banknote Switzerland continued to mint gold coins in probe 900. They were called Vreneli (Vreneli), as well as the bill. Whence came the name "Vreneli" - please read the description of the obverse.

Today these notes are very rare in any condition.