Did you know that the largest rifle shooting competition in the world is held every year in Switzerland with over 200,000 in attendance? Originating in the 15th Century, the highly anticipated Swiss Schützenfest (marksmen’s festival) is a traditional festival featuring a target shooting competition in which contestants compete based on their shooting abilities, and the winner of the competition is celebrated as the Schützenkönig ("king of marksmen") until the next year's competition.
There are two distinct periods to consider when collecting Shooting Festival commemoratives. The first run is from 1842 to 1939, 1842 being the first year they began minting commemorative shooting thalers. These coins are the equivalent in size and metal content to their legal tender counterpart. As such, these coins were circulated outside the festivals, although technically, they are medals. The second period, the modern commemoratives, runs from 1984 to date. This is the only ongoing modern coin issue to celebrate marksmanship, gun safety, and education.
For the first time in history, a modern numismatic rarity occurred, as the annual Shooting Festival originally scheduled in 2020 for Lucerne, was postponed to 2021. As a result, the Lucerne festival has been commemorated by two consecutive issues, the 2nd of which (2021) is the first to feature two dates on the obverse!
The 2020 design commemorates the shooting festival being in Lucerne and features two goddesses on the obverse - Helvetia seated with a sword in her left hand and her right hand on the Swiss coat of arms. To her right is a female figure representing Lucerne, holding a rifle with arms at her feet. The reverse has the face value within a wreath with crossed rifles, a powder horn, and shooting bag below.
This 2020 Swiss Shooting Festival Commemorative has been graded a near flawless PF69 Ultra Cameo by NGC. Each coin weighs 25g of .900 silver and has a denomination of 50 Francs. Both the 2020 and 2021 commemoratives were limited to impressively low mintages of just 1000 pieces! In addition, only 87 coins have this exact graded designation, making it one of the rarest modern issues that exists in this series!!