lv

On Tuesday, 6 December, Latvijas Banka is issuing a new 5 euro silver collector coin "Christmas Battles".

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This coin is a dedication to the Latvian riflemen, heroes of the Christmas Battles, and their eternal contribution to the future. The Christmas Battles raged from 5 to 11 January 1917 (from 23 to 29 December 1916, old style) along a front line of 30 km stretching from Tīreļpurvs to Olaine. Latvian national military units, joined together in one division under major general Augusts Ernests Misiņš (1863–1940, later the first general of the Latvian army), were involved in theses battles for the first time.

Despite the losses of Latvian riflemen of around 9 000 soldiers in this military campaign – the dead, the wounded and the missing, which fomented depression, hopelessness and bitter disappointment with the tsarist regime, these battles brought international fame to the riflemen as outstanding and fearless warriors. It was a kind of statement and proof of national vitality, a noble sacrifice on the altar of the dream about the would-be State of Latvia.

The graphic design of collector coin "Christmas Battles" has been created by Kristaps Ģelzis, and the author of the plaster model is Ligita Franckeviča. K. Ģelzis has designed collector coins "Riga Technical University " and "Riga Cathedral". L. Franckeviča has created plaster models for several tens of coins.

The coin "Christmas Battles" is struck by UAB Lietuvos monetų kalykla (Lithuania). The obverse of the coin features a group of Latvian riflemen and an image of stylised sun taken from the Latvian riflemen battalion's soldier badge, with red-painted central field, eight broken sunbeams, and a slantwise-situated sword. The reverse features a snowflake, a point of bullet impact, and the inscription "Christmas Battles".

The collector coin "Christmas Battles" is legal tender in the Republic of Latvia, yet the release of it in 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 of the coin is limited to 5 000.

The price of the coin at Latvijas Banka Cashier's Offices is 53.00 euro. As of 6 December, it will be on sale at Latvijas Banka Cashier's Offices (K. Valdemāra iela 1B in Riga and Teātra iela 3 in Liepāja). As of 11:00 today, it can also be reserved via the new collector coin and other numismatic product online reservation service of Latvijas Banka under the Banknotes and Coins section (https://rezervetmonetu.bank.lv) of Latvijas Banka website (www.bank.lv). Most important advantage of the innovative service is the opportunity for clients to buy new collector coins and different numismatic products offered online by Latvijas Banka at the most convenient time and without waiting in lines. It is most likely to suit the needs of customers, e.g. from regions, who are busy on the initial days of launching a new coin or who cannot visit the Cashier's Offices of Latvijas Banka due to other reasons.

The coin will be available at such traditional points of sale as coin shops, book stores and souvenir and jewellery shops (https://monetas.bank.lv/images/stories/pielikumi/nauda/Monetu-tirdzniecibas-vietas.pdf). Collector coins and other numismatic products offered by Latvijas Banka can be obtained also online from the JSC "Latvijas Pasts" ( http://old.pasts.lv/lv/veikals/).

The information about collector coins available from the Cashier's Offices of Latvijas Banka is provided at https://monetas.bank.lv/en/coins-for-sale. This site shows that a vast range of thematically and artistically diverse coins are still available.