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January 29, 2020
Reflecting its efforts to push boundaries, stretch the limits of technology and achieve something unique, Swissmint issued a gold coin so small that neither image on the minted sides can be discerned with the naked eye. Naturally, Swissmint has that covered by providing magnifying lenses and a light with every purchase.
Billed as the smallest gold coin in the world, the new “1/4-franc gold” measures 2.96mm (0.12 inches) in diameter and weighs 0.063g (0.0022 ounces). The coin is about the size of a match head.
With a bit of ocular assistance, coin lovers will recognize that the obverse of the coin features the famous image of Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue, and the year 2020. The reverse shows the nominal value of 1/4 franc ($0.26) together with the inscription “Helvetia” (the female national personification of Switzerland) and the Swiss cross. Also shown is the alloy mark “AU 999.9” and the weight (1/500 ounce).
In creating the world’s smallest coin, Swissmint drew inspiration from Albert Einstein’s qualities of determination and patience. From 1895 to 1914, Einstein lived mainly in Switzerland, where he also completed his studies in 1900 at what is today called ETH in Zurich. In 1901, he was granted Swiss citizenship and in 1902 he found permanent employment as a technical expert in the Patents Office in Bern. It was in 1905 that he published what is probably the most famous formula in the world: E=mc2.
The new offering is packaged in a special presentation case, complete with magnifying lenses and light, ensuring that the collector can examine the smallest gold coin while still keeping it safely stored. Designed by Swissmint engraver Remo Mascherini, the new 1/4-franc gold coin is available as a “special minting” of just 999 coins. Swissmint is selling each coin for 199 Swiss francs (about $204).
The record for the largest, heaviest and most valuable coin is held by The Perth Mint’s “1 Tonne Australian Kangaroo.” Made from 99.99% pure gold, the coin measures 80 cm (31.5 inches) wide and 12 cm (4.5 inches) thick. It weighs one metric ton, which is equivalent to 2,200 pounds or 35,274 ounces. The coin has a face value of $1 million, but at today’s gold price, the precious metal alone is worth $55 million.
Credits: 1/4-franc gold coin image courtesy of Swissmint. 1 Tonne Australian Kangaroo coin image courtesy of The Perth Mint.