On Wednesday, 3 May, Latvijas Banka is issuing a new 5 euro silver collector coin "Latgale Congress". By doing so, Latvijas Banka expresses its appreciation and gratitude to Latgale for its contribution to the evolvement of the idea of Latvia's unity and statehood.
The coin presentation event will take place at the Embassy of Latgale "Gors" on 4 May in Rēzekne, shortly before the concert dedicated to Latvia's Independence Restoration Day and the centenary of the Latgale Congress. The Governor of Latvijas Banka Ilmārs Rimšēvičs will present the collector coins to Ināra Mūrniece, the Speaker of the Saeima, representing the nation, and Anna Rancāne, a renowned Latgalian poetess, impersonating Latgale.
The Latgale Congress of Latvians took place on 9–10 May 1917 (26–27 April, old style) in Rēzekne. Delegates from Latgale municipality and town governments, parishes and societies as well as Latvian riflemen participated.
For almost 300 years (1629–1917), the Latvians of Latgale had been separated from their countrymen in Vidzeme and Kurzeme, first under the Poles, and, since 1772, as part of Russia. The basic question to be decided by the Congress was: what path should Latgale take? Should it unite with Kurzeme and Vidzeme or try to establish its own autonomy? In 1917, the Latgalians made their fundamental choice to unite with their fellow Latvians in Kurzeme and Vidzeme, and the budding Latvian State was formed, according to the administrative division of that time, of Vidzeme, Kurzeme and Latgale, the three cultural and historical regions represented as stars.
The author of the coin design and plaster model is Ivars Drulle. He was inspired by one of the rare photographs of the Congress participants. The obverse of the coin features images of people who were the driving force behind the Congress – Catholic priests, riflemen, teachers and public figures. The inscription on the red-white-red slogan herein is borrowed from the historical photograph and, reflecting the yet to stabilise written Latgalian language, expresses the fundamental idea of the Congress.
The reverse of the coin features the crucifix, with women and children gathered around it for the May Singing. The May Singing as a folk tradition characteristic for Latgale has been included in the Latvian Cultural Canon.
The collector coin "Latgale Congress" is struck by Faude & Huguenin SA (Switzerland). It is legal tender in the Republic of Latvia, yet the release of it in general circulation is unlikely, for, by nature, collector coins are works of art, enjoying high demand from the numismatic community and other interested parties. The maximum mintage is limited to 3 000 coins.
The price of the coin is 50.00 euro. As of Wednesday, 3 May, the coin will be on sale at the Cashier's Offices of Latvijas Banka at K. Valdemāra iela 1B in Riga and Teātra iela 3 in Liepāja. As of 11.00 on 3 May, it can be reserved via the new collector coin and other numismatic products online reservation service under the Banknotes and Coins Section at https://rezervetmonetu.bank.lv on Latvijas Banka website www.bank.lv. The coins reserved beforehand can be collected (purchased) from Latvijas Banka Cashier's Offices from 15 May to 31 May. (In summer, Latvijas Banka is opening a special website, offering its customers an electronic commerce or online purchasing opportunity).
For inhabitants of Latgale and parties interested in Latvia's history, the collector coin "Latgale Congress" will be available on sale during the Latgale Centenary Congress at the Embassy of Latgale "Gors" on 5 May in Rēzekne.
Information about collector coins available from Latvijas Banka Cashier's Offices is provided at https://monetas.bank.lv/iegade. This site shows that a vast range of thematically and artistically diverse coins are still available. The information about Latvijas Banka's Coin Programme 2017 is available at https://monetas.bank.lv/iegade.