Riga, 1 December 2010

Tomorrow, on 2 December, the Bank of Latvia will issue two types of new 1-lats circulation coins with a horseshoe featured on the reverse. The coins are legal tender in the Republic of Latvia. The coins will be circulated the same way as any other circulation money, reaching commercial and other enterprises and the population via banks.

The coin has been designed by artist Frančeska Kirke and modelled by sculptor Ligita Franckeviča. The new 1-lats coins were struck at the German mint Staatliche Münze Berlin.

Many nations of the world have always considered the horseshoe a lucky charm: it is often nailed above the door or, as a tiny replica, carried around as an amulet. This belief originated in the Middle Ages when the production of horseshoes was very costly and thus simply finding a horseshoe constituted a lucky break.

As for good fortune, it is brought only by a horseshoe that has been found instead of bought and it must have been already worn by a horse. Nailed to the door or threshold of a house it will bring money and protect the household from evil forces and thieves; nailed to the door of the barn it will make sure that cattle grow well and bring profit. There is no unanimity in the world regarding the way the horseshoe should be fastened to the door: with the ends facing up (to prevent the good fortune from flowing out) or down (to facilitate the flow of good fortune into the house). Both views are present in the Latvian folklore: if the ends of the horseshoe face upward, good fortune will arrive from the heavens, if they face downward, it will flow up from the earth. This time the special circulation coins have been struck to represent both beliefs, so that they bring good fortune to everyone.

There are also circulation coins with pictures of a stork, an ant, a boletus mushroom, Sprīdītis (Latvian Tom Thumb), St Peter's rooster, a pretzel, a midsummer night's wreath, a pine cone, an owl brooch, a snowman, a water-lily, a chimney sweep, the traditional Namejs's ring, a Christmas tree and a toad ( Such coins are planned to be circulated in the future as well up to the time when Latvia becomes a full member of the Economic and Monetary Union and introduces the euro.

The reverse of the new 1-lats coin features a horseshoe with the ends facing either up or down. The minting year of the new coin (2010) is featured on the obverse, beneath the large coat of arms of the Republic of Latvia. There are no other differences - in terms of the edge, size, the metal used or the weight - between the new coin and the other 1-lats circulation coins.

The total circulation of both types of the coin is one million (500 thousand pieces each) and, just like in the case of the other circulation coins, it will not be supplemented.