Published: 01.01.2013

Face value: 20 lats
Weight: 10.00 g; diameter: 22.00 mm
Metal: gold of .9999 fineness, quality: UNC
Struck in 2008 by Münze Österreich (Austria)
Author: Teodors Zalkalns; the plaster model, based on the author's sample, was made by Ligita Franckevica.

In centre right, there is a woman's face in profile; the woman's head is covered with a scarf. Above left there is the inscription LATVIJA arranged in a semicircle; the numerals signifying year 2008 are arranged in a semicircle below left.

Top centre features the numeral 20, with the inscription LATI underneath, and the year 1922 at the very bottom. The inscription T. ZALKALNS is arranged in a semicircle in the bottom left. In the centre, there is a vessel with a curdled milk beverage, an apple, a jug of milk, a loaf of bread and a knife on the table.


The gold "Coin of Latvia" shines with the promise of a good fortune and happiness in the future. It is also a special sign of recognition of an outstanding Latvian sculptor, since it carries out the project conceived by Teodors Zalkalns (Grinbergs until 1930; 1876–1972) in 1922 to create a 20-lats gold coin. The plaster model of the coin preserved in the archives of the Latvian National Museum of History contains symbols that are of great significance to Latvia.

Zalkalns' images of mother belong to the classical treasures of Latvian sculpture. The sculptures created during World War I and modelled after a refugee from Courland are a potent symbol of the nation's suffering and transcending that suffering. The obverse of the coin also features a woman in a headscarf, which to any Latvian signifies motherhood: when a baby was born, the husband presented the wife with a headscarf. A woman used it to cover her head whenever she ventured out in the world. Folk tradition has it that a person who is lost can find the right way if she turns the headscarf inside out and ties it anew; that a knot in one of the loose ends can help one remember, and if such a knot is tied when a star is falling, one's wish will come true. All these good things are tied to the mother image. Mother is the symbol of never-ending cycle of life, linking the past, present and future generations.

The feminine principle gives life to an individual and likewise is at the core of the family and state. The feminine principle unites the spiritual with the material; the symbols on the reverse of the coin, bread, apple, vessel with a curdled milk beverage and a jug of milk, also signify fertility and plenitude. A knife, symbolising masculine action, is placed next to the feminine images.

The eloquent language of signs tells the story of what was most important to the Latvians as their state and the national currency was born and these same values are paramount today as well.