On Tuesday, 31 October, Latvijas Banka will issue a silver collector coin "100 Years of Basketball in Latvia" dedicated to the popularity and success of this widely known sport.
Basketball is one of the most popular and easily accessible types of sport in the world. It not only keeps crowds of fans on the edge of their seats, but also attracts and motivates sports enthusiasts to develop their physical abilities. All you need is a basket, a ball and some willpower. Basketball has changed people's lives, especially in the US, by giving young people a chance to escape poverty. It has a profound impact on different areas of life: culture, music, television, fashion industry. In our country, basketball baskets are seen in the yards of residential buildings, outdoor basketball courts are available to everyone, while the name of Kristaps Porziņģis is well-known beyond our borders. In Latvia, basketball is played a lot both at professional and amateur levels or as a fun game. 2023 marks a centenary of basketball in Latvia since the Latvian Basketball Federation was founded in 1923.
Latvia boasts significant achievements in this sport. For example, our national team won the First European Men's Basketball Championship in 1935. Recent years have also seen several notable achievements on the international arena. The performance of the Latvian men's basketball team ending its 2023 FIBA World Cup appearance in the 5th place has surprised many and has solidified Latvia's basketball on the global map. Meanwhile, the Latvian 3x3 basketball team won the first Olympic Champion title in this sport in 2021 and bronze medals in the 2023 World Cup.
The author of the coin's graphic design is artist Paulis Liepa. The design is based on a message about basketball as a strategic game. Both the team and the strategy of the game, as well as the ability of the players to cooperate and use the strengths of the team in the best possible way play a significant role in it. There is no victory without a smart strategy.
The coin's obverse displays a basketball basket with a gold-plated ball on the basket's rim, thus keeping the intrigue about the ball falling into the basket and the team getting their victory points.
On the coin's reverse, the artist has included the tactical scheme of a basketball game. Interestingly, this drawing was a hot topic among basketball fans trying to understand the intended combination. The inscription "20:23" symbolises not only the year of the coin's issue but also the score of the game displayed on the scoreboard, assuming it is an away game for the Latvian team.
The collector coin will be available for purchase only on the website e-monetas.lv/en from 12:00 (noon) on 31 October. Mail delivery or personal pickup from Latvijas Banka Cashier's Offices at Bezdelīgu iela 3, Riga, will be possible. To smooth out the customer flow on the premises, the order pickup at Latvijas Banka Cashier's Offices will be organised according to a balanced schedule.
The price of the coin is 84.00 euro; the purchase limit for one buyer will be 2 coins. The mintage of the coin is 3000. The coin has been struck by Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato S.p.A., a mint in Italy.
100 YEARS OF BASKETBALL IN LATVIA
Face value: 5 euro
Weight: 22.00 g
Diameter: 35 mm
Metal: silver of fineness .999° with gilding
Maximum mintage: 3000
Struck in 2023 by Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato S.p.A. (Italy)
Graphic design – Paulis Liepa
A basketball basket with a gold-plated ball on the basket's rim.
At the bottom left – a semi-circled inscription "LATVIJAS BASKETBOLAM 100" ("100 YEARS OF BASKETBALL IN LATVIA").
A part of a basketball court with the game's tactical scheme.
At the bottom centre – inscriptions "5 EURO" and "20:23".
The inscriptions "LATVIJAS BANKA" and "LATVIJAS REPUBLIKA", separated by rhombic dots. Gold-plated.
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 49 euro collector coins. Overall, more than 50 artists from Latvia and now also 1 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 normal 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.