Press Release of November 13, 1998


The Bank of Latvia has issued a gold 100 lats coin made of pure gold. This is the first gold circulation coin in the history of the independent Republic of Latvia.

We are proud to present the new coin and to provide answers to possible questions.

Uniqueness of the coin
In the world gold coins are most often struck of gold with fineness of 900, while the standard 9162/3 is also widespread. The new 100 lats coin is made of pure gold, its fineness being 999, which means that gold admixtures are less than one thousandth. These admixtures have not been alloyed, but have remained in the gold during its refining.

Twofold value of the coin
This is a coin of the Bank of Latvia with a face value of 100 lats and it means that you will always be able to receive goods or services for such an amount of money. However, the value of the coin’s gold content, by current gold prices, also approaches 100 lats. For many centuries gold has been recognised world wide as a measurement of value. While its significance in the modern financial world has decreased and its price tends to fluctuate, many people still prefer to accumulate their savings in gold. Should you decide to keep a gold 100 lats coin, you would have in your possession both a 100 lats coin and a certain amount of gold as a precious metal (16.2 g). The global gold price can either increase or decrease. In case it rises at the precious metals market, the value of the coin’s gold content can exceed 100 lats. Consequently, this coin has a value that will not be lost even during a global shock.

How to obtain this coin
The 100 lats coins have been put into circulation and are available both at the Bank of Latvia and at commercial banks. The new 100 lats coin is a circulation rather than a collector coin, and those who wish to have one can obtain it in banks through a simple withdrawal of cash or in exchange for 100 lats in other banknotes or coins. The coin is legal tender and can be used for purchases, held, or exchanged for other banknotes or coins.

The authors of the coin
The winning design by the artist Sandra Belsone was given form by the sculptor Janis Strupulis.

Where were the 100 lats coins minted?
The mint for striking of the 100 lats gold coins was selected at a competition. The winning bid belonged to the Finnish mint "Rahapaja Oy". This was not the first time the Bank of Latvia co-operated with this mint: it struck the first collector coins of Latvia dedicated to the country’s 75th anniversary. This second, pure gold coin has been struck by the Finnish mint as Latvia celebrates its 80th anniversary.

Why the denomination of 100 lats
The precious metal content of the coin should be as close to its face value as possible. 100 lats is the most appropriate denomination for this coin as 16 grams of gold has the approximate worth of 100 lats and is an appropriate weight for a coin. The size and weight of the coin, while convenient for use, make it stand out in the holder’s hand or wallet.

Distinction between collector coins and circulation coins
The new coin is a circulation coin designed to serve as a means of payment and accumulation of savings. While collector coins of the Bank of Latvia are legal tender in the Republic of Latvia, people obtain them mainly for their artistic value, as gift and collection items. Collector coins are often purchased for a price that may even significantly exceed their face value. The precious metal content of collector coins tends to be considerably lower than their face value, i.e., gold or silver is used mainly emphasise quality and fine design rather than for material value.

Are pure gold coins struck elsewhere in the world?
For those who wish to obtain a valuable bearing the mark of stability and eternal value, acquiring coins made of pure precious metal would be an excellent idea. Such coins or precious metal bars have been struck in the USA (gold and silver), Australia (gold, platinum and silver), Austria (gold), South Africa (gold), Canada (gold, platinum and silver), and the UK (gold and platinum). The "Gold Maple Leaf" struck in five sizes by the Canadian Royal Mint is particularly popular.

Is it possible to forge the 100 lats coins?
The coinage is of high quality, and gold is easily recognised by its distinctive colour. However, to safeguard against forgery, you should familiarise yourself with your money. When receiving a gold 100 lats coin, please check whether the statement of the coin’s weight and fineness in small letters, i.e. 16.2 g Au 999, is clearly visible on its reverse. You should also examine the edge of the coin that should consist of 3 smooth and 3 reeded segments arranged alternately.
It should be noted, however, that forgery of gold coins is extremely rare in the modern world, and as yet, no forged lats coins made of gold or silver have ever been discovered in the renewed Republic of Latvia.