When the 19 Swiss cantons signed Napoleon Bonaparte's Act of Mediation in 1803, they officially regained their traditional right to mint coins – a prerogative that they had lost five years earlier with the rise of the Helvetic Republic. Most cantons immediately started to issue coins of their own again. However, the cantons at least agreed to henceforth mint their money after the same coin standard: 1 Swiss franc was to be divided into 10 batzens and 100 rappens, respectively.
Until the introduction of the Helvetic franc, the currency of Zurich had been the Zurich taler; it had equaled 2 guldens or 72 schillings. Now Zurich issued a new taler with a value of 2.5 gulden, or 40 batzens and 4 francs, respectively. This Zurich Neutaler (new taler) bore as indication of its value the inscription 40 batz.