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It is the second time in history when a coin issued by Latvijas Banka has been recognised the Coin of the Year. The innovative Honey Coin, created by the designer Artūrs Analts, won by a very wide margin, and, quoting the 1 February 2020 press release of the Numismatic News, "the day was sweet as honey" for Latvijas Banka.

Last week, the award winners of the 37th competition Coin of the Year Awards (COTY), hosted by Active Interest Media (AIM; US) and presented by the numismatics magazine World Coin News, were announced at the World Money Fair in Berlin.

This contest is the world's most prestigious international coin competition, and Latvijas Banka collector coins have already been quite successful there before. For example, in 2010, the Coin of Latvia was recognised the Coin of the Year. In 2015, the silver collector coin The Baltic Way was recognised the Best Contemporary Event Coin at this contest, while in 2018, the collector coin National Entrepreneur was announced the Most Artistic Coin of the Year.

In October 2019, out of more than 1000 coins issued all over the world in 2018, the COTY Nomination Committee selected 10 coins in each of the award categories. In the next round of assessment of the selected 100 coins, an international panel of judges recognised the Honey Coin (video; coin website) the winner in the category Most Artistic Coin and also the Coin of the Year.

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The Honey Coin, a gold plated silver collector coin with the face value of 5 euro, had been previously recognised the winner of Latvia's Coin of the Year 2018 award. This coin is based on Artūrs Analts' work which was awarded the first prize in the competition for the best design of an innovative collector coin. The Honey Coin is dedicated to ecology, highlighting the role of bees in preserving biodiversity. Their presence is an indicator of nature's healthiness.

In January, we also learned that coins issued by Latvijas Banka had gained recognition at Coin Constellation – 2019, an international collector coin contest organised by the Water Mark Publishing House (Russia). More than 220 collector and circulation coins, issued in 2018, were nominated for the contest.

At the Coin Constellation contest, the Honey Coin was awarded the first place in the category Unique Concept. The collector coin Curonian Kings, created by artists Arvīds Priedīte (the graphic design) and Ligita Franckeviča (the plaster model), was awarded the first place in the category Coin Classic. The Coats of Arms Coin, created by artists Laimonis Šēnbergs (the graphic design) and Jānis Strupulis (the plaster model), was awarded the second place in the category Silver Coin of the Year. The collector coin Gold Brooches. The Bubble Fibula, created by Ingūna Elere (the graphic design) and Jānis Strupulis (the plaster model), was awarded the third place in the category Gold Coin of the Year. The 2 euro commemorative coin with common design Centenary of the Baltic States, issued by the central banks of the Baltic States, was awarded the third place in the category The Best Circulation Coin.

Since 1993, Latvijas Banka has issued 98 lats collector coins and 35 euro collector coins, with over 50 Latvian artists having participated in designing them.

The Coin Design Commission of Latvijas Banka (the former Commission for the Thematic Concept of the Banknotes and Coins), operational 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 of art and culture as well as artists and scientists.

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 Latvia. 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.

For information on the collector coins on sale at e-monetas.lv and the Cashier's Offices of Latvijas Banka, see https://www.e-monetas.lv un https://monetas.bank.lv/iegade.

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.