On 10 September 2018, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Karl Elsener's death, Swissmint has dedicated a 20-franc silver commemorative coin to the now famous "Swiss Army Knife".
In the 19th century, our country was one of the poorest states in Europe and high unemployment forced many Swiss to emigrate. The creation of jobs was therefore greeted with open arms. With this in mind, Schwyz-born Karl Elsener (1860 – 1918) founded a cutlery workshop in Ibach in 1884. He came up with the idea of manufacturing soldiers' knives which had previously been made in Germany in Switzerland. However, his business was too small to obtain orders from the army. For this reason, in 1891 he founded the Swiss cutlers' association with the aim of manufacturing the soldiers' knives for the army together with other cutlers in Switzerland. The first delivery was made the same year. At the time, the knife pioneer would probably never have dreamed that it would one day become a world-famous company.
The soldier's knife was very robust but also relatively heavy. So Karl Elsener developed a lighter and above all more elegant knife with even more functions. He called this pocket knife model the "Officer's and Sports Knife" and had it legally protected in 1897. However, unlike the soldier's knife, the Officer's Knife did not become official army equipment. This did not affect its success. The "Swiss Army Knife", as the Officer's Knife was called for export, began to conquer the world after the Second World War. Victorinox AG is now run by the fourth generation of the Elsener family.
The 20-franc silver coin was designed by Nadja Baltensweiler. It is available in the qualities “uncirculated” and “proof” in a presentation case at our online-shop or from selected coin dealers and some banks.
Last update: 06.11.2018