Updated: 26.01.2011

Riga, 12 August 2010

The Bank of Latvia today issued the one-lats collector coin "the Latvian ABC" in two coinages: in silver and copper and nickel alloy. Its graphic design was developed by artist Arvīds Priedīte and its plaster cast by sculptor Ligita Franckeviča.

The Bank of Latvia's anniversary coins are miniature works of art dedicated to Latvian treasures: events, successes, people, the highlights of our culture. Honouring the history of Latvian education, the Bank of Latvia dedicates this coin to the ABC and its reverse features the rooster found on the cover of the oldest known Latvian ABC. The Bank of Latvia has used practice borrowed from elsewhere in the world and launched in Latvia with the Song Celebration coin by striking the coin both at the highest, proof, quality in silver, and also in the degree lower, Brilliant Uncirculated quality as a copper and nickel alloy. The silver coin is placed in a box; the copper and nickel one in a special packing supplied with rich informative material.

The first Latvian ABC dates back to 1683; its fragment, in the form of uncut printer's sheets was found, in 1941, at the library of the University of Tartu. It is adorned by the drawing of a rooster. For centuries, the ABC in Latvia enjoyed a special place. This picture book that serves to unite many generations, has gradually become more attractive to make the beginning of the road to reading more fun. That's why the various editions of the ABC have been illustrated also by outstanding Latvian artists. Altogether about 200 different ABCs have been published in Latvia, but along with reissues and supplemented editions their number exceeds 300.

Ināra Klekere, Head of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department of the Latvian National Library:
"The rooster of the Latvian ABC grows out of an old tradition. It is often found also in the ABCs of other nations. The oldest known depictions of rooster have been found in the Polish and German ABCs of the 1570s. Rooster on the front cover of the ABC even in modern times has retained its pre-Christian symbolism:  it is a herald of light who has set his sights eastward; the three ribbons that are featured also in the Latvian ABC probably symbolize the thrice repeated morning call of the rooster."

Both the silver one-lats coin and the copper and nickel alloy one-lats coin, "the Latvian ABC" is legal tender in the Republic of Latvia. The maximum issue of the silver coin will be 5 000 pieces. The maximum issue of the copper-and-nickel one will be 10 000 pieces. The coin "Latvian ABC" will be available for purchase at the Bank of Latvia and the traditional points of sale: banks as well as souvenir and jewellery shops. The price of the silver coin at Bank of Latvia's tills is set at LVL 25.30 and that of the copper and nickel alloy at LVL 5. Description of the coin.

Information for editors:
Money in form, collector coins are in fact works of art. They are usually made of gold, silver or other precious metals of especially high fineness. As opposed to currency in general circulation, collector coins are usually not intended to be used as a means of payment, but as a gift, souvenir or collector's item. Consequently, the price of collector coins is considerably higher than their nominal value.