The winner of Latvia's Coin of the Year 2016 Award has been selected by the traditional annual public survey vote, and this year the award goes to "Fairy Tale Coin II. Hedgehog's Coat". All in all, 16 581 people participated in voting and 7 601 of them cast their vote for "Fairy Tale Coin II. Hedgehog's Coat".
It is the second coin in a special Fairy Tale Coin Series which is dedicated to the Latvian folk tales; the first coin issued within this series was "Five Cats", minted in 2015 to immediately win both fame and Coin of the Year 2015 Award.
The author of the winning coin's graphic design is Gundega Muzikante, while the plaster model was made by Ligita Franckeviča. With the graphic design for "Fairy Tale Coin. Hedgehog's Coat" G. Muzikante, a celebrated and prolific illustrator of children's books, made her debut in coin art. This coin of an innovative oval shape was struck by UAB Lietuvos monetų kalykla (Lithuania). The obverse shows a princess carrying a hedgehog in her apron; the reverse features a herd of swine led by a hedgehog and a fragment of an ancient ethnographic building.
At the awards ceremony held in the Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA), the Governor of Latvijas Banka Ilmārs Rimšēvičs noted that the Museum is a symbolic site to announce the winning coin of the year, for it is a repository of and home for all miniature works of art embodied in the collector coins issued by the central bank. Each of more than 50 works of art by brilliant Latvian artists deserves praise, while they all taken together form a national treasure which it would be difficult to rival.
The Governor of Latvijas Banka presented the traditional prize – the Coin of Latvia, which was once conceived by Teodors Zaļkalns and in 2008 struck in gold, – to G. Muzikante and Ligita Franckeviča, the artists of the winning coin.
During the event, several special prizes were also awarded. Māra Lāce, Director of LNMA, presented the museum expert panel's prize to the authors of silver collector coin "National Entrepreneur". "We want to emphasise the laconic and impressive visual solution of the coin design, with its reverse showing 25 diamond facets that represent the years of successful business activity, and the obverse featuring an IQ code with a short message addressed to the future generations of entrepreneurs. Using a language of modern images and avoiding traditional stereotypes, it delivers a message important for Latvia," she noted.
JSC "Tilde" Board Member Indra Sāmīte and Deputy Director of the Centre for Culture Information Systems Sandra Ozoliņa awarded the prize of Latvian public libraries to the authors of the coin "Fairy Tale Coin II. Hedgehog's Coat".
Coin collector Madis Gerbaševskis presented the traditional Collectors' Prize 2016, which went to the coin "Earth". He noted that the competition this year had been so tough that the winner was determined by a narrow margin of few votes.
Those present at the Coin of the Year 2016 awards ceremony paid tribute to Maruta Brūkle, the long-standing Head of the Coin Division, who passed away in May 2016 and whose contribution to the coin excellence cannot be overestimated.
At the event, a draw from among participants in the vote took place, with 19 collector coins issued in 2016 given as prizes. The survey and draw results can be found on the website of Latvijas Banka at www.bank.lv.
The public survey on Latvia's Coin of the Year Award is the central annual event honouring coin art in Latvia – a specific genre of art excelling in miniature presentation, merging graphic artistry and sculptural creativity with minting technicalities, and giving access to public at large to embodiments of national culture and history. This one was the 13th such survey conducted by Latvijas Banka.
In 2016, seven collector coins telling the story of Latvia's culture, history and people were issued. They are: "Fairy Tale Coin II. Hedgehog's Coat " (video), ""Baltars". Porcelain" (video), "National Entrepreneur" (video), "Gold Brooches. The Disc Fibula" (video), "Janis Rozentāls" (video), "Christmas Battles" (video) and "The Earth" (video).
Partners of Latvijas Banka in choosing the winner of Latvia's Coin of the Year Award, often deemed equivalent to Academy Awards (Oscars) in film industry, are the LNMA, the JSC "Tilde", and the Centre of Culture Information Systems. The survey is supported by the Art Academy of Latvia, the University of Latvia, the Riga Technical University, the University of Liepāja, the Turība University, the BA School of Business and Finance, the Rīga Stradiņš' University, the Rēzekne Academy of Technologies, the Ventspils University College, the Riga International College of Economics and Business Administration, the University of Daugavpils, the Vidzeme College of Higher Education, the Latvia University of Agriculture, internet portal Delfi, coin distributors JSCs "E-Lats", " Valters and Rapa Publishers", "IMIS", SJSC "Latvijas Pasts", JSC "Rīga Numis" ("Riga Numismatics Salon") and JSC "Tavex".
Latvia can be proud of the design of its national money and the achievements of over 50 most talented Latvian artists in over 20 years, for Latvia's money – banknotes and coins – has been included in the Latvian Cultural Canon and many coins have become winners of prizes at international contests. Organizations, institutions and inhabitants believe that these coins are an excellent gift, promoting the outreach of Latvia's culture, art and innovative design.
As to silver and gold collector coins, their mission is to tell people at home and in far-away countries the story about most significant events in Latvia's history as well as country's national heroes, cultural attainments and philosophical categories. The message each coin delivers is clear and concise. It is a result of intensive creative work of Latvijas Banka's Coin Design Committee, which manages joint activities in this field of Latvijas Banka's employees, experts in Latvia's culture and art, and artists.
The Coin of the Year 2015 Award went to Fairy Tale Coin I. Five Cats, with its graphic design created by Anita Paegle, a well-known illustrator of children's books, and the plaster model made by Jānis Strupulis.
Since 2004 when Latvijas Banka launched public coin surveys, the following coins have won the Coin of the Year Award: Coin of Time, Baron Munchausen, Coin of Digits, Coin of Time II, Happy Coin, Coin of Water, Amber Coin, Fog Mists the Pane, Richard Zarins' Silver 5 Lats Coin, Baby Coin, Baroque of Courland and Fairy Tale Coin I. Five Cats.
Since 1993, Latvijas Banka has issued 98 lats collector coins and 20 euro collector coins, with over 50 Latvian artists participating in designing them.
The Latvian collector coins have earned high international respect and numerous prestigious awards. In 2010, the Coin of Latvia won the main International Coin of the Year Award in the coin contest organised by the US Krause Publications. In 2015, another winning award in the World's Best Contemporary Event Category was bestowed to Baltic Way, a silver collector coin issued by Latvijas Banka in 2014 (the latter coin along with Baroque of Courland, the Coin of the Year 2014, and other collector coins issued in 2016 are still available at Latvijas Banka Cashier's Offices).