Riga 4 June 2010

Monday, 7 June, the Bank of Latvia will begin circulating a new 1-lats circulation coin with the picture of a toad on the reverse. The coin is 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 authors of the graphic design and plaster cast are Edgars Folks and Jānis Strupulis respectively.

The new 1-lats coins were struck at the German mint Staatliche Münze Berlin.

The toad occupies an important place in Latvia's natural environment and the popular mentality alike, it is considered to help farmers and bring blessing to households.

Director of the Latgale Zoo and senior researcher at the Ecology Institute of the University of Daugavpils Dr.biol. Mihails Pupiņš notes that the common toad, Bufo bufo is one of the most common amphibians in Latvia occupying an important place in the ecosystem; for millennia it has also been a farmer's helper because it protects the harvest from bugs and snails. The toad young eat mosquitoes as well, so this promises to be a good year for them!

The folklore and mythology scholar, professor Janīna Kursīte also points out that in the popular lore the toad is associated with luck and good fortune: "The toad embodies a blessing to the house. In the past, toads were specially fed milk so they would bring fortune to the house." Moreover: "The money toad brings wealth. If you leave one toad coin in your wallet, it just may happen that money pours in as if from a horn of plenty."

Referring to the role of the toad in nature and human life, Mihails Pupiņš and his colleagues at the Zoo have this to say: "We hope that the toad lats will promote the development of clean and environmentally friendly agriculture in Latvia. Toads have many offspring: each female toad spawns 3-4 thousand roe annually, so we can only wish that it would encourage Latvian families to grow larger and also that each toad coin would bring as many and more lats in profit to anyone who gets a hold of one!"

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, and a Christmas tree ( 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 1-lats coin features the likeness of a toad; on the obverse there is the minting year of the new coin, 2010. There are no other differences - in terms of the coin band, size, the metal used or the weight - between the new coin and the other 1-lats circulation coins.

The circulation of the coin is one million and, just like in the case of the other circulation coins, it will not be supplemented.