Latvia: New silver proof coins mark centenary anniversary of Ethnographic Open-air Museum

The Bank of Latvia have released new silver proof collector coins entitled Across the Times in celebration of the centenary anniversary of the Ethnographic Open-air Museum of Latvia.

by Michael Alexander | Published on April 18, 2024

The museum and its tireless endeavours have been dedicated to passing on Latvian national heritage to the future generations. First founded in 1924, the Ethnographic Open-air Museum of Latvia ranks among Europe's oldest and largest museums of its kind, and houses some of Latvia's oldest wooden architectural treasures. Since its inception one hundred years ago, the museum has upheld its mission to preserve historical heritage for future generations throughout the ages. This heritage encompasses evidence detailing the architectural features and domestic items, shedding light on construction techniques and the traditional layout of homesteads belonging to peasants and fishermen, spanning a timeline from the 17th to the mid-20th century. Over the last century, the Open-Air Museum have collected 118 historical buildings from all over Latvia’s four historic and contemporary regions, Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Zemgale, and Latgale. The buildings have been set up to give visitors a sense of Latvia’s rural landscape.

Of particular interest are the craftsmen's houses and workshops, forges, potters' and tar kilns along with skilled craftsmen who demonstrate what life was like over a hundred years ago. Visitors can visit working windmills, churches of various denominations, the meeting house of the brethren congregation, the pub and the threshing barn as they would have appeared in their day. Seasonal and other traditional Latvian festivities are celebrated at the museum, offering an opportunity to delve into their meaning and purpose.

The silver proof coins are produced by the Lithuanian Mint - UAB Lietuvos monetų kalykla at their facilities in Vilnius on behalf of the Bank of Latvia and designed Arvīds Priedīte. The obverse side depicts a standing woman mixing dough in a bread trough with a mixing paddle. Above her is the image of a spinning wheel and the inscription LATVIJAS ETNOGRĀFISKAIS BRĪVDABAS MUZEJS (The Ethnographic Open-air Museum of Latvia) along the upper rim. Arranged in a semicircle on both sides of the woman are historic tools and household objects such as from the left top, a fish basket, a spoon board with spoons and a flour scoop. From the lower right is a distaff, a bread-shovel and a washboard. The reverse side depicts a man carving a trough with a pickaxe and above him is an ornate horse-collar. To the left is a hand drill along with a broad-blade axe and a spoke-shave. Shown on the right is a hand scythe, a hand rake and a grain shovel. The year of minting 2024 is placed along the lower rim and the denomination 5 EURO is seen along the lower right rim. The flat edge of the coin includes an incused inscription which reads LATVIJAS BANKA and LATVIJAS REPUBLIKA separated by rhombic dots.

DenominationMetalWeightDiameterQualityMaximum Mintage
5 Euro.999 Silver22 Grams35 mm.Proof3,000

Available from the 16th April, each coin is encapsulated and enclosed in a custom presentation case accompanied with a certificate of authenticity. For additional information, please visit the webshop of the Bank of Latvia.

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Author: Michael Alexander

Michael Alexander image Michael’s background in both numismatics and banknotes spans more than three decades and whose activities have varied from being a dedicated world coin collector to coin & medal design, marketing, theme concept and production. His additional interests include banknote research and in 1997, he founded the London Banknote and Monetary Research Centre to further these interests and activities. The company continues to offer monthly currency bulletins to both online and printed publications which includes information about the latest banknote news and releases from Central Banks and Monetary Authorities around the world. Michael has been a contributor to COIN NEWS magazine based in the UK since 1998 where many of his in-depth interviews, articles and bulletins have been published.

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