Swiss Vreneli Gold Coins (Gold Vreneli)

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Among the most popular gold coins ever struck anywhere in the world, the Swiss Vreneli Gold Coins stand out in the historical bullion category. These beautiful pieces find an endearing audience naturally in Europe, but also well beyond the cultured continental crowd because of their attractive portrayal of history.

Minted initially in the 1800s, the partial-ounce gold coins are lovely to gaze upon thanks to their easy-on-the-eyes Swiss craftsmanship and design. The goal Vreneli is, today, highly sought after by collectors and investors alike. With nearly a fifth of an ounce of gold and classic portraits, these coins have remained among the most beloved world gold coins for investors and collectors alike.


Swiss Vreneli Gold Coins Background and History

Switzerland is the country name synonymous with neutrality, stability, and prosperity. Since the country began in its present day form following its Congress of Vienna creation back in 1815, it has endured as the bastion of independence, fiscal strength, and financial responsibility because of its long-standing tradition of backing up its stable as a rock currency with enormous amounts of gold bullion holdings. This coin is the ultimate portrayal of this envied and wildly successful gold-backing practice.

Helvetia the name is today a region in the West of Switzerland, though in the times of the mighty ancient Roman Empire it encompassed the whole land and her peoples. It was the “first among equals” Julius Caesar who brought the land of the Helvetii into the fold of civilization in the Roman Empire in the year 58 B.C. This barbarian tribal name long remained the principal identifier for the region and its inhabitants all the way to the beginnings of the 1800s. When Napoleon extended his short-lived reign over the nation, it was known as the Helvetian Republic. After his spectacular defeat at Waterloo, the Congress of Vienna which redrew the map of Europe appreciated the sovereign tendencies of Switzerland and renamed the country to its current nomenclature. Ever since, the country has wisely avoided all foreign wars, especially and most crucially for the country and people the First and Second World Wars.

These beautiful golden Vreneli Helvetias were all struck by the national Swiss government at the one and only Swiss National Mint found in Bern. They were minted between the years 1897 and 1936, then restruck in both 1947 and 1949. These “Swiss Miss” coins stopped production in 1936 because of the devastating effects of the Great Depression. In modern times, these historical and beloved world gold bullion pieces became significantly more valuable than their gold content because of their collectible appeal throughout the world. Premiums on these coins have run as high as a shocking 25 percent over spot gold prices, though this has dropped to under 10 percent in recent years. All of these gorgeous Swiss Vreneli gold coins are legal tender for 20 Swiss Francs throughout all the cantons (provinces) of Switzerland.

Swiss Vreneli Gold Coins Physical Characteristics

The Swiss Vreneli Gold Coins are all made with 90 percent gold purity. Twenty-nine rare individual pieces were struck in 1879 ahead of the main series out of bright Gondo-sourced Valasan gold. Such issues can be distinguished from the others by their smaller cross struck amidst the Swiss cross centered on the coin's reverse.

Coin Design

The “obverse” refers to the front side of a coin in numismatics. Swiss Vreneli Coins' obverses contain the Vreneli bust. This appealing Swiss Miss comes from Swiss tradition and folklore. She sports braided hair and wears a lovely flower garland. Appearing in front of an unparalleled Swiss Alpine backdrop, the design is impressively detailed. Over her head floats the name of the country “HELVETIA.”

Coin aficionados throughout the world refer to the rear side of coins as the “reverse.” Swiss Vreneli Gold Coins' reverses boast the famed Swiss shield overlaying an oak branch whose leaves are adorned by tied ribbons. The face value of 20 FR and date of mintage appear alongside the “B” mint mark on the reverse of the piece as well.


All of the various years of issue of the Swiss Vreneli Gold Coins contain almost a fifth of an ounce of pure gold at .1867 ounces. Their specifications are:

  • Mass: 6.4516 grams
  • Diameter: 21 mm
  • Thickness:  1.4 mm
  • Content: 0.1867 oz. gold
  • Purity: 90.0% gold

Swiss Vreneli Gold Coins Pricing

Swiss Vreneli Gold Coins were issued with a standard face value of 20 Swiss Francs in the country. They have always been and will remain legal tender within Switzerland. The face value is a significant amount, but it does not equate to the several hundred dollar value of the coins themselves. This is because their intrinsic value is mostly based on the spot price of gold, making them significantly more valuable than their face value might imply. The actual market value of these lovely pieces comes from both world gold prices and the available supply and relevant demand levels around the world. Supply is somewhat limited, though demand increases apace with economic turmoil and geopolitical problems in the world. It is safe to say they are not making any more of these Vreneli coins.

It is this intrinsic value that creates the fair market prices for the Swiss Vreneli Gold Coins. These market prices are the ones that give portfolios which contain the coins their values. Such coins have always enjoyed a comfortable premium over the spot price of gold. This is because they are both collectible and historical at the same time. The premium helps to cover the production and distribution costs incurred by the mint in issuing them. The true market values of these gold bullion gems goes up and down every day of market trading along with the fluctuating value of gold. You can easily ascertain the present price of gold simply by going over to our official homepage.

Can IRA Accounts Contain Swiss Vreneli Gold Coins?

One of the most important questions that retirement investors ask about these Swiss Vreneli Gold Coins surrounds their ability to participate in IRA retirement accounts. It is entirely up to the sole discretion of the American tax authority the Internal Revenue Service as to which bullion coins are allowed to be included and held by IRA accounts. The IRS rigorously enforces a set of standards that meet both intense purity and collectibility levels which they themselves set. They also require that to open such an account, you fund it with a minimum startup purchase of $5,000 in approved gold or silver bullion. Later additions can be made for as little as $1,000 in new sanctioned coin purchases. If you happen to have a standard IRA retirement account and so desire, you are able to simply roll it on over into a self directed “precious metals” IRA. Once your approved bullion is both purchased and received by your IRA account administrator, they will secure it for you in a sanctioned by the IRS third party depository. These secure vaults both maintain and guard your precious metals retirement treasure horde.

It is a sad reality that IRA account holders are not allowed to include these stunning Swiss Vreneli Gold Coins in their IRA accounts. The reasons are two-fold. The pieces fail both on purity and collectibility limitations. The IRS insists that all approved pieces contain an unfailingly pure .995 level of gold. Swiss Vreneli gold coins only have .900 purity. These coins also have been so collected from the get go that the IRS would never have approved them and their long-time 25 percent premium over gold spot prices at which they sold for years. Because these bullion gold pieces fail both IRS standards for collectibility and purity, they may not be held in your precious metals IRS retirement account. This does not reflect whatsoever on their practicality for other types of investment and retirement accounts, especially now that the premium over spot is more in the neighborhood of around five percent. You can easily find gold bullion shops and world coin dealers throughout the globe who stock these always-popular European gold gems when you are ready to purchase them.

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FTC Disclosure: We are an independent blog that aims at providing useful information for retirement account owners interested in alternative assets like precious metals. However, our content does NOT constitute financial advice. Please speak to your financial advisor before making any investment decision. Also, the data quoted on this website represents past performance and does not guarantee future results.


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