Tomorrow, on 14 November 2017, Latvijas Banka is issuing 2 euro commemorative coins dedicated to Kurzeme and Latgale. These coins, featuring the coats of arms of Kurzeme and Latgale, continue the series of 2 euro commemorative coins dedicated to Latvia's cultural and historical regions. It is one of Latvijas Banka's contributions to the country's centenary. A 2 euro commemorative coin with the coat of arms of Vidzeme was issued a year ago. In the country's centenary year, a coin dedicated to Zemgale will conclude the series of coins.
Latvijas Banka continues the tradition of minting circulation coins of special design in Latvia. Each year, every euro area country is entitled to issue two 2 euro circulation coins of special design or commemorative coins as well as one more commemorative coin within a joint programme of several euro area countries provided that such a programme is organised.
Euro commemorative coins are legal tender in the Republic of Latvia and other euro area countries. Thus, in the run-up to the centenary of our country, the commemorative coins with the coats of arms of Latvia's cultural and historical regions will travel across Europe telling a story of Latvia.
The graphic designs of the national side of the new commemorative coins have been created by artist Laimonis Šēnbergs, but the plaster models – by Jānis Strupulis. Laimonis Šēnbergs is the Deputy Chairman of the Coin Design Commission of Latvijas Banka and author of the graphic design of 19 collector coins. Jānis Strupulis has created the graphic design of two coins and plaster models of several dozens of Latvijas Banka's collector and circulation coins. The European side of these euro commemorative coins bearing the nominal value (artist Luc Luycx) is the same as that of other 2 euro circulation coins, including material and size.
The national side of the commemorative coins issued by Latvijas Banka features the inscription "LATVIJA", and the edge of the coin, like all other 2 euro circulation coins of the Republic of Latvia, features the inscription "DIEVS * SVĒTĪ * LATVIJU *". The new 2 euro coins have been minted by Staatliche Münze Baden-Württemberg (Germany).
The division of Latvia into cultural and historical regions (Vidzeme, Latgale, Kurzeme and Zemgale) is stipulated by Article 3 of Satversme (the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia). Four euro commemorative coins featuring the coats of arms of Latvia's cultural and historical regions will be issued by the end of 2018 as Latvijas Banka's contribution to Latvia's centenary. The symbols incorporated in the coats of arms established by the Regulations on Coats of Arms of Latvia's Regions, adopted on 26 April 1930 in accordance with Article 81 of Satversme, are related to historical developments in the present-day territory of Latvia. In 2012, a special law was passed to lay down legal protection of these coats of arms as national symbols. A silver elk (golden on Kettler's coat of arms) on a blue background, featured on the coat of arms of Zemgale, and a red lion on a silver background, turned in the opposite direction and depicted on the coat of arms of Kurzeme, have been carried over from Gotthard Kettler's coat of arms. He was the first Duke of Kurzeme and Zemgale. Meanwhile, a silver griffin on a red background with a sword in its right paw, currently without a gold crown, incorporated in the coat of arms of the Duchy of Pārdaugava can be seen on the coat of arms of Vidzeme (on a red background) and on that of Latgale (on a blue background turned in the opposite direction). Images of the coats of arms of Latvia's cultural and historical regions have not been used in coin design so far.
The new commemorative coins will be circulated in the same way as any other circulation coins, reaching commercial and other enterprises as well as population through banks. As of Tuesday, 14 November, the coins will be available for exchange at the Cashier's Offices of Latvijas Banka in Riga and Liepāja. The mintage of each coin is 0.5 million pieces. Experience of Latvijas Banka shows that this quantity is sufficient to allow all interested persons to exchange the coins over a period of at least several weeks. 7 000 coins of each type of Brilliant Uncirculated quality in a special souvenir packing will also be on sale. The price of the coin at Latvijas Banka Cashier's Offices is 7.30 euro.
Numismatic products will be available (also for legal entities) for purchase online via Latvijas Banka's collector coin and other numismatic product site at e-monetas.lv offering a wide range of collector coins and other numismatic products of Latvijas Banka. Commemorative coins in rolls (one roll contains 25 coins) will be available for exchange only at the Cashier's Offices of Latvijas Banka in Riga and Liepāja.
In close cooperation with JSC Swedbank, the possibility to pay by VISA, VISA Electron, MasterCard and Maestro payment cards as well as via the internet banks of JSC Swedbank, JSC Citadele banka and JSC SEB banka has been ensured. All purchased coins and numismatic products can be collected at Latvijas Banka Cashier's Offices in Riga and Liepāja (for their addresses, see https://www.bank.lv/par-mums/klientu-kase) as well as by using express delivery services of SJSC Latvijas Pasts within the territory of Latvia. It is most likely to suit the needs of customers, e.g. from more distant regions, who are busy on the initial days of launching a new coin or due to other reasons cannot visit the Cashier's Offices of Latvijas Banka.
These products will also be available at such traditional points of sale as numismatic shops, book stores and souvenir and jewellery shops (https://monetas.bank.lv/images/stories/pielikumi/nauda/Monetu-tirdzniecibas-vietas.pdf).