The Bank of Latvia has recently released a new silver coin to mark the 150th anniversary of the Riga Technical University, which was established in 1862 as the first polytechnical institute in Imperial Russia. It was the first tertiary education establishment in the territory of Latvia and is the oldest technical institute in the Baltic States.
The 2012 Riga Technical University 1 Lats Silver Coin features some intriguing aspects. The shape of the coin is a square measuring 32 mm X 32 mm, which is formed by two detachable triangles. The detachable aspect seems to have been conceived due to the potential for utility of the coin.
The obverse is comprised of an upper triangle designed as a protractor with the inscription “LATVIJAS REPUBLIKA” (Republic of Latvia). The lower triangle is designed as a calibrated ruler with the legal tender face value of “1 Lats” beneath.
On the reverse, the upper triangle features a panoramic view of the University with the inscription “RĪGAS TEHNISKĀ UNIVERSITĀTE (Riga Technical University). The lower triangle includes a gilded protractor and ruler, which are elements of the coat of arms of the University. The background includes a reflection of the panoramic view included in the upper triangle. As the angle of the coin is shifted, the date “1862″ or “2012″ appears.
Each coin is struck in proof quality with a weight of 26.00 grams and purity of .925 silver. I have seen the mintage indicated as 3,000, but am trying to confirm. The coins are struck by the Mint of Finland and designed by Kristaps Ģelzis.
For those interested in purchasing the coin, the Bank of Latvia’s website has some contact information here. I have sent an email about the coin, but have not received a response yet. (I will update if I receive a response.) In the past, I have purchased my Latvian coins from eBay, which currently has a few listings for the Riga Technical University Silver Coins.