On Wednesday, 13 December, Latvijas Banka will issue a silver collector coin "Riga Fashion" dedicated to the history of Latvia's fashion.
The concept of Riga fashion is widely known, and it describes an active period in the history of Latvia's fashion in the 1960s–1980s when the company Riga Fashion House (1948–1997) and the favourite magazine Rīgas Modes (Riga Fashion; 1949–1993) flourished and gained popularity. That period also saw the creation of the fashion centre Riga Fashion located in a specifically designed building (in Brīvības iela, Riga).
An emancipated, confident woman with her own style and attitude has been and still is the principal character of Riga fashion. The story of Riga fashion involves more than clothes, footwear and accessories. In the context of the 1960s–1980s, fashion is a complex concept covering the textile industry from sewing at home to mass production of clothes and fabrics in the territory of Latvia. It also includes graphic design for printing on fabrics, the creation of texts, typefaces and other means of communication, including fashion shows, their scenography and music.
Riga fashion serves as a keyword not only for style but also for thousands of women involved in the fashion industry. Fashion has also been a form of protest, i.e. an opportunity to express one's individuality, an opportunity to be different, to distance oneself from the Soviet time mass-produced goods and dissociate oneself from ideology of that period.
The graphic design of the coin has been created by world-renowned and demanded fashion designer and illustrator Alīna Grīnpauka. The artist has cooperated with the fashion brands such as Valentino, Alberta Ferretti and Tiffany & Co. She is one of the hundred illustrators from across the world featured in the book "The Illustrator. 100 Best from around the World" published by the prestigious publishing house Taschen.
Many women have very vivid and personal memories of the magazine Rīgas Modes. The artist's message is that the value of the magazine was not limited to the distribution of silhouettes and patterns for making clothes. It contributed to forming a sense of taste and style and demonstrated the standard of beauty which also underpin the visual concept of the coin. The reverse of the coin features a stylised pattern for making clothes, as each edition of the magazine Rīgas Modes was worth its weight in gold, and it was passed from hand to hand.
The collector coin will be available for purchase only on the website https://www.e-monetas.lv/en from 12.00 (noon) on 13 December. The earliest buyers will have the opportunity to pick up the coin purchased online at Latvijas Banka Cashier's Offices before Christmas holidays if is it intended as a gift.
The price of the coin is 75.00 euro; the purchase limit for one buyer is 3 coins. The mintage of the coin is 3000. The coin has been minted by Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato S.p.A., a mint in Italy.
Face value: 5 euro
Weight: 22 g
Diameter: 35 mm
Metal: silver of fineness .999
Quality: proof; colour print on the obverse and reverse
Maximum mintage: 3000
Minted in 2023 by Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato S.p.A. (Italy)
Graphic design: Alīna Grīnpauka
A seated woman with bright red lips, wearing a dress with bright floral patterns.
The upper part of the coin features a fabric sample and a stylised blue pattern for making clothes, while the lower part depicts a cut-to-size piece of fabric with a bright floral print. The central part bears the inscription "Rīgas Modes" to the left against a perfectly smooth background, and the inscriptions "5 EURO", "LATVIJA" and "2023" are semi-circled along the right side against a matt background.
The inscriptions "LATVIJAS BANKA" and "LATVIJAS REPUBLIKA", separated by rhombic dots.
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 52 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 numismatics publishing house 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.