Latvijas Banka's collector coin "National Entrepreneur" has won an award at the prestigious international contest "Coin of the Year". The coin created by Latvian artists Paulis Liepa and Ivars Drulle has been announced the winner in the category "The Most Artistic Coin of the Year" – this achievement in coin art is equivalent to the Oscars in cinema art. The award was presented at the World Money Fair in Berlin last weekend.
The 5 euro silver collector coin "National Entrepreneur" is dedicated to the achievements of Latvian entrepreneurs and honours their endeavour and contribution to reinforcing the economic independence and national self-confidence of the country. The author of the coin's graphic design is Paulis Liepa, and its plaster model has been created by Ivars Drulle. The coin "National Entrepreneur" was struck by UAB Lietuvos monetų kalykla (Lithuania). The obverse of the coin incorporates a QR code carrying a message for the coming generation of entrepreneurs, which reads: "WORK WITH COURAGE, DETERMINATION AND RESPONSIBILITY!" The reverse of the coin features 25 raised facets symbolising the years dedicated to entrepreneurship. The coin's obverse is smooth and represents the extensive area of work that the future generations have to populate with their values.
Since 1993, Latvijas Banka has issued 98 lats collector coins and 25 euro collector coins, with over 50 Latvian artists having participated in designing them.
The design of Latvian coins has received high international recognition and a number of prestigious awards; moreover, the "Coin of Latvia" won the international 2010 Coin of the Year Award. In 2015, the silver collector coin "The Baltic Way" was recognised as the Best Contemporary Event Coin winner in this contest.
The Coin Design Commission of Latvijas Banka (the former Commission for the Thematic Concept of the Banknotes and Coins), which is a special purpose entity formed on 12 November 1993, plays a role of utmost importance in the coin issuing process. The Commission is made up of the employees of Latvijas Banka, outstanding Latvian experts of art and culture, and artists and scientists.
After the introduction of the euro, 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., shall 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 in the Republic of Latvia and other euro area countries.