The Bank of Latvia has released a coin dedicated to the Lestene Church, which was once one of the most beautiful Baroque churches in Latvia.
The Church was damaged during World War II when its spire was burnt down and the altar was shelled. In the post-war period, the Church was systematically demolished although the sculptures were saved. Since 2002, the building has been gradually repaired and the furnishings have been moved back and restored. The work has been financed through donations and a small project funding. By issuing the coin, the Bank of Latvia is making an appeal to the public to help in the restoration of the Lestene Church.
The obverse design of the new gold coin features an acanthus leaf design from the side decor of the altar of the church. The inscriptions read “Latvia”, “2013”, and “1 Lats”.
The reverse features the head of an angel from the church altar. The inscription above reads “AK, SVĒTĀ LESTENE!” (OH, HOLY LESTENE!). It is part of Latvian oral tradition that the power of art, spirituality and music of the Church was so impressive that churchgoers often dropped to their knees calling out “Oh, holy Lestene!”
The artists behind the coin are Laimonis Šēnbergs (graphic design), Ligita Franckeviča (plaster model). Each coin is struck in 99.99% fine gold to proof quality with a weight of 1.2442 grams and diameter of 13.92 mm. The price of the coin at the Bank of Latvia’s Cashier Offices is 50 lats.