New 1-lat coin features toad

A new 1-lat coin featuring a toad has been issued by the Bank of Latvia. The coin, released June 7, will join others that depict aspects of Latvian nature or folk culture.

The toad has an important role in Latvia’s natural environment and also is noted in folk beliefs, according to a Bank of Latvia press release. Perhaps best known is the toad’s role in the folk song “Aiz kalniņa dūmi kūp,”  where it brings water to the skunk that is brewing beer.

“The toad is associated with fertility: in the ancient Latvian folksongs it carries the water for the beer brewing ritual; its presence helps the harvest,” according to the press release. “Like the grass snake, the toad was considered to bring blessing to cattle, therefore he who killed a toad risked to have cows go dry and the skin on his hands turn toadlike. By contrast, to circle around a toad three times guarantees good fortune. We are entrusting the toad with just this mission: to bring luck and good fortune to each household where money is spent prudently.”

Latvia is home to several species of toad, including the common toad, green toad, running toad, fire-bellied toad and European common spadefoot. Among those, the fire-bellied toad, European common spadefoot and running toad are protected species.

Toads helps farmers by eating bugs and snails that might affect the harvest, according to Mihails Pupiņš, director of the Latgale Zoo and senior researcher at the Ecology Institute of the University of Daugavpils.

The coin features a toad on its reverse and, like others in the series, the Latvian coat of arms on its front side. Other coins in the series feature a stork, an ant, a boletus mushroom, Sprīdītis, St Peter’s rooster, a pretzel, a Midsummer wreath, a pine cone, an owl brooch, a snowman, a water-lily, a chimney sweep, the traditional Namejs ring and a Christmas tree.

The coin is made of a copper-nickel alloy and was minted by Germany’s Staatliche Münze Berlin. It was created by graphic designer Edgars Folks and Jānis Strupulis, who made the mold.

The circulation of the toad coin is 1 million.

Lata moneta

A new 1-lat coin released June 7 by the Bank of Latvia features a picture of a toad.

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

2 thoughts on “New 1-lat coin features toad

  1. So I an a waiter at a small brewpub in west chester pa usa called iron hill and I waited on a young man from latvia and two of his friends recently and they were totally awesome customers. In addition to tipping generously this young man gave me this toad coin and explained its cultural significance and advised me to keep it near my wallet stop it would bring me good fortune. It was badass.

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