New 1-lat coin features Namejs ring

A new 1-lat coin depicting the traditional Namejs ring (Nameja gredzens), often viewed as a symbol of one’s ethnicty, has been put into circulation by the Bank of Latvia.

The coin, made of a copper-nickel alloy, is part of a series of 1-lat coins that have depicted various signs, images and events important to Latvian culture.

The braided ring depicted on the reverse of the new coin is a design that goes back centuries, according to a June 8 press release from the Bank of Latvia.

“This type of ring was named after the Semigallian chieftain Namejs only in the 1930s when two such rings were found in the Daugmale castle mound and they became favorites for replication and wearing,” according to the press release.

Today, the ring “has come to signify that the wearer has some relationship to Latvia: even if he or she belongs to a different nation, it is evidence that they have some connection with the Latvian land or culture,” according to the press release.

The obverse of the ring displays the coat of arms of Latvia.

The coin was designed by Ilze Libiete and the plaster model was made by Baiba Sime, both of whom are marking their debut in coin design. The coin was minted by Staatliche Münze Berlin in Germany.

A total of 1 million of the new coins were minted, according to the Bank of Latvia.

Nameja lats

The reverse of the new 1-lat coin features a Namejs ring.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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