Livonian Order Castle Displays Collection of Latvian Lats and Santims

On March 5, Ventspils Castle of the Order of Livonian Knights opened an exhibition "Ventspils Museum's Collection of Lats and Santims (1993-2013): Together for Twenty Years".

Ventspils Museum's goal of creating the collection was to keep all the coins and banknotes that had been in circulation in Latvia between March 1993 and January 1, 2014. To achieve the above goal, the museum organized a campaign for private contributors last year as well as bought the rarest specimens from numismatists. Thanks to the support of Nordea Bank, Ventspils Museum can add to its collection the four most valuable specimens in terms of money, 100- and 500-lat banknotes released in 1992, 2007 and 2008. The said banknotes will be given as a gift during the opening ceremony, thereby officially completing the collection.

18 different banknotes and 30 coins + 1-lat coins of 23 different designs

We have held (or at least wanted to hold) in our hands a total of 18 different banknotes and 30 different coins, plus limited edition 1-lat coins of 23 different designs. The coins depict a number of symbols and images characteristic for Latvia (stork, ant, etc.). The large number of monetary units included in the collection is explained by their repeated production. For example, 1-santim coins were re-minted in 1992, 1997, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2008, but 5-lat banknotes, in a slightly modified form, were re-printed in 1992, 2006, 2007 and 2009. Though the first coins issued back in 1992 remained in circulation until the very end of the 'era of lat', many banknotes released in that year have become a historical rarity, for paper banknotes wear out much faster.

Exhibition features rare santim coins

The items on display include one of the rarest santim coins – a 20-santim coin of 1992 that, instead of using a copper, nickel and zinc alloy, was minted of steel with an outer layer of the given alloy. These coins, although limited in number, have been in general circulation, are not considered to be "fakes" and rank high on collectors' wish lists.

Ventspils Museum would like to express its deepest gratitude to Nordea Bank and all private contributors who participated in the creation of the 1992–2013 money collection increasing the Ventspils Museum's stock.

The exhibition runs until September 2014 at the Ventspils Museum (Livonian Order Castle, Commendatory Abbot Room, 2nd floor).

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