Monday, February 15, 2010

Latvian Gold Coin Issued within the Program "History of Gold"

Face value: 10 lats.


diameter 13.92 mm, weight 1.2442 g (1/25 oz. troy).Material: gold, fineness .999.9.Quality: proof.Struck in 1998 by Valcambi SA (Switzerland).Artists: Laimonis Senbergs, Gunars Cilitis (graphic design), Ligita Franckevica-Ulmane, Janis Strupulis (plaster model).


A motif of the secret seal of Riga Town Council (1368) depicting the small coat of arms of Riga - the city's keys crowned with the Livonian Order's cross - is featured in the centre of the coin. The year 1998, numeral 10 and inscription LATU (lats) are placed beneath the motif.


A motif of the Great Guild's coat of arms (1354) - a golden ship with the city's symbol, two intersected keys topped with a cross, at the top of the mast - is featured in the centre of the coin. The inscription RIGA-800 is placed beneath the motif.



As the 14th century dawned on Riga, battles commenced in the past century resulted in the Livonian Order gaining rule over the city. At the same time the Hanseatic League, an association of significant trading cities around the Baltic Sea, became the century's paramount economic force. Riga, already a member of the League, was decreed the central harbour for discharging transit goods, as well as the main intermediary for trade between Russia, Lithuania and Western Europe.
By mid-century, Riga's social and spiritual life was dominated by artisans' brotherhoods and traders' guilds. Its prosperous citizens immortalized their success and affluence by constructing the Great Guild Hall, a meeting place for Riga's exclusive guild of wealthy German traders. Influenced by cathedral architecture from Northern Germany, by the end of the century St. Peter's Church was fully renovated with an additional Gothic altar and chapels, and remained distinctly elegant with its 136 meter high steeple, Riga's dominant symbol to date.
The coin's reverse bears the Great Guild's coat of arms: a golden ship with two keys crossed at the top of the mast, representing overseas trading. The coin's obverse bears the secret seal of Riga Town Council depicting Riga's small coat of arms of 1368, where the city's keys crowned by the Livonian Order's cross have replaced the symbol of the bishop's power of the previous century.

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