Published: 27.11.2023

On Wednesday, 29 November, Latvijas Banka will issue an unusually shaped silver collector coin "Fan of Light Rays" to mark the 250th anniversary of the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation.

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The Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation, founded in 1773, is one of the oldest public museums in Europe and the oldest museum in the Baltics. As a comparison, the British Museum in London was founded in 1753 and the Louvre Museum in Paris was opened in 1793. There is no other cultural institution in the history of Latvia that has existed continuously for such a long period of time. The rich and diverse collections of the museum originated from an art and natural sciences collection of Nikolaus von Himsel (1729–1764), a Riga doctor who donated it to the city of Riga.

The graphic design of the coin was created by artist Ivars Drulle. Inspired by the fans in the museum's collection, which were a typical part of women's wardrobes in the era when the Himsel collection was created and the museum was founded, the artist has chosen an unusual shape for the coin – that of a fan.

The obverse of the coin depicts a light source from which the light rays spread by the fan are collected, amplified and focussed in one direction by a lens. The lens symbolises the museum, a repository of knowledge that spreads light: it broadens horizons and encourages learning.

The fan has another interesting meaning. Aside from its practicality, it used to have one more significant function: communicating a wide range of non-verbal messages in a public setting. Similarly, this fan-shaped coin conveys a message about the museum's rich historical collection testifying to the lives of the inhabitants of Riga, which is worth exploring and learning about.

On the reverse of the coin, we meet the gaze of Doctor Nikolaus von Himsel. It was thanks to his vision that the Riga Town Council founded the museum on 22 February 1773, naming it after Himsel. Joyful and observant, his gaze invites us to explore the world.

Ligita Franckeviča is the author of the coin's plaster model.

For the attention of the media and interested parties

The collector coin will be available for purchase only on the website e-monetas.lv from 12.00 (noon) on 29 November.

The price of the coin is 72.00 euro; the purchase limit for one buyer is 5 coins.
The mintage of the coin is 3000.
The coin was struck by Koninklijke Nederlandse Munt (the Netherlands).

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