On Wednesday, 29 November, Latvijas Banka will issue an unusually shaped silver collector coin "Fan of Light Rays" to mark the 250th anniversary of the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation.
The Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation, founded in 1773, is one of the oldest public museums in Europe and the oldest museum in the Baltics. As a comparison, the British Museum in London was founded in 1753 and the Louvre Museum in Paris was opened in 1793. There is no other cultural institution in the history of Latvia that has existed continuously for such a long period of time. The rich and diverse collections of the museum originated from an art and natural sciences collection of Nikolaus von Himsel (1729–1764), a Riga doctor who donated it to the city of Riga.
The graphic design of the coin was created by artist Ivars Drulle. Inspired by the fans in the museum's collection, which were a typical part of women's wardrobes in the era when the Himsel collection was created and the museum was founded, the artist has chosen an unusual shape for the coin – that of a fan.
The obverse of the coin depicts a light source from which the light rays spread by the fan are collected, amplified and focussed in one direction by a lens. The lens symbolises the museum, a repository of knowledge that spreads light: it broadens horizons and encourages learning.
The fan has another interesting meaning. Aside from its practicality, it used to have one more significant function: communicating a wide range of non-verbal messages in a public setting. Similarly, this fan-shaped coin conveys a message about the museum's rich historical collection testifying to the lives of the inhabitants of Riga, which is worth exploring and learning about.
On the reverse of the coin, we meet the gaze of Doctor Nikolaus von Himsel. It was thanks to his vision that the Riga Town Council founded the museum on 22 February 1773, naming it after Himsel. Joyful and observant, his gaze invites us to explore the world.
Ligita Franckeviča is the author of the coin's plaster model.
The collector coin will be available for purchase only on the website e-monetas.lv from 12.00 (noon) on 29 November.
The price of the coin is 72.00 euro; the purchase limit for one buyer is 5 coins. The mintage of the coin is 3000. The coin was struck by Koninklijke Nederlandse Munt (the Netherlands).
FAN OF LIGHT RAYS
Face value: 5 euro
Weight: 15 g
Shape: irregular, 41 mm x 24 mm
Metal: silver of .999 fineness
Maximum mintage: 3000 pieces
Minted in 2023 by Koninklijke Nederlandse Munt (the Netherlands).
Graphic design: Ivars Drulle
Plastic formation: Ligita Franckeviča
The obverse of the coin depicts a light source from which the light rays spread by the fan are collected, amplified and focussed in one direction by a lens. The inscription the MUSEUM OF THE HISTORY OF RIGA AND NAVIGATION is featured underneath. The image has been formed by using frosting of different intensity and colour printing (UV printing).
On the reverse of the coin, we meet the gaze of Doctor Nikolaus von Himsel (1729–1764), the founding father of the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation. The inscription 5 EURO is placed at the bottom left, the year 2023 – in the centre, the inscription LATVIJA – on the right.
Activity of Latvijas Banka regarding the issuance of collector coins and 2 euro commemorative coins
Since 1993, Latvijas Banka has issued 98 lats collector coins and 51 euro collector coins. Overall, more than 50 artists from Latvia and now also one artist from Ukraine have participated in designing Latvian coins.
Latvian coins have received high international recognition and a number of prestigious awards; moreover, the "Coin of Latvia" won the international 2010 Coin of the Year Award at the contest organised by US Krause Publications and its magazine World Coin News. In 2015, the silver collector coin "The Baltic Way" was recognised as the Best Contemporary Event Coin at this contest, whereas in 2018, the collector coin "National Entrepreneur" was named the Most Artistic Coin of the Year. At the competition Coin of the Year Awards (COTY) in 2020, the "Honey coin", Latvijas Banka's collector coin, was announced the world's Most Artistic Coin and the Coin of the Year.
The Coin Design Commission of Latvijas Banka (the former Commission for the Thematic Concept of the Banknotes and Coins), which has been active since 12 November 1993, plays an important role in the coin issuing process. The Commission consists of the employees of Latvijas Banka, outstanding Latvian experts in art and culture as well as artists and scientists.
After the euro changeover, Latvijas Banka carries on the tradition of issuing collector coin series with motifs characteristic of Latvia and executed in high artistic quality. These coins are legal tender only in the issuing country. They are unlikely to come into general circulation, for, by nature, they are works of art enjoying high demand from the numismatic community and other interested parties.
The face value of collector coins must differ from that of coins in general circulation (it must be, e.g. 5 euro or 10 euro). Their specifications, including colour, diameter, weight, material, etc. have to be cardinally distinctive from those of the coins in general circulation.
The issuance of 2 euro commemorative coins (2 euro circulation coins of special design) is another area of coin art. Each year, every euro area country is entitled to issue two 2 euro commemorative coins (similar to 1 lats special circulation coins previously issued in Latvia), featuring events of national, European or global significance. The euro area countries can additionally produce a third 2 euro commemorative coin, provided that it is issued jointly and that it commemorates events of European Union-wide importance.
Commemorative coins bear the same features and the same common or European side as the regular 2 euro circulation coins, while their national sides differ and feature a national commemorating motif.
Euro commemorative coins are legal tender throughout the euro area. This means they can be used – and must be accepted – just like any other euro coin.