The Latvian Times and Values coin program tells the story of Latvia in the European and global context. The program is grouped into four different series: Roots, Time, People, and State. The fourth series State tells the story of Latvia rising from obscurity, suffering through a dark era, and re-emerging once again free.
Pictured above is the Foreign Rulers coin, which represents the dark era from 1940 to 1991. The obverse includes fragments of the coat of arms of the Republic of Latvia with the letters composing “LATVIJAS REPUBLICA” scattered in the fringes of the empty field. The reverse design includes the shattered coat of arms with an inscription beneath which translates to “God, Thy Earth is Aflame!” The coin is struck in proof quality, and the fields which appear as black in the scan above are deeply mirrored.
I found the design of the coin to be incredibly bold and evocative. The dark period within Latvian history would seem to be a difficult topic to convey on a coin, but I think the design choice accomplishes this. In hand, the coin is both jarring and intriguing for literally breaking a traditional design concept to illustrate the coin’s theme.
I picked up this coin first, but then was also able to acquire the other two coins within the series. The three coins are Fight for Freedom, Foreign Rulers, and Rebirth of the State.
Latvian coins do not seem to receive a lot of attention, but I have several in my collection, which I have acquired for their well executed or uncharacteristic designs. Above is a coin issued for the 800th anniversary of the first coinage struck in Latvian territory, which features an interesting “coin within a coin” design. You can see some of Lativa’s other silver coins here.
On the horizon is a 5 Lati Coin that will mark the 90th anniversary of the first currency issued by an independent Latvia. The tribute coin reproduces the design of the original 5 Lati coin, first produced in 1929, with the image of an allegorical female representing the nation. (Here are eBay auctions for the original version.) Although the new tribute coins have already been struck, they will not be available until some time later this year.
This is another Latvian coin that I intend to add to my collection. I will also acquire a nice example of the original coin.