New coins honor niobium’s discovery, note symbolism of horseshoe

The Bank of Latvia in recent weeks has released three new coins: one silver-niobium commemorative coin called the “Coin of Time III,” as well as two circulation one-lat coins with images of horseshoes.

The one-lat ““Coin of Time III” was released Dec. 2. The obverse of the coin features a rose in tribute to the discoverer of niobium, German chemist Heinrich Rose, who launched his career in Latvia. The reverse has the phases of the moon.

The coin contains both silver and niobium, is of uncirculated quality and has a mintage of just 7,000. The coin was designed by Laimonis Šēnbergs and modelled by Jānis Strupulis, and was struck by Münze Österreich, Austria.

This is the third “Coin of Time.” The first was released in 2004 and the second in 2007.

Additionally, the Bank of Latvia on Dec. 2 released two special one-lat circulation coins, both with horseshoes, with one coin having the horseshoe pointing upwards, the other downwards.

The horseshoe has long been a symbol of good fortune. In Latvian beliefs, if the horseshoe ends are pointing upwards, good fortune will come from the heavens, but if the horseshoe ends are pointing downwards, good fortune will come from the land. The designers were Frančeska Kirke (graphic design) and Laura Medne (plaster model). The coin was minted by Staatliche Münze Berlin, Germany.

Circulation of the two horseshoe coins is 500,000 pieces each.

For further information, visit the Bank of Latvia website at

Coin of Time

A new commemorative one-lat coin honors the Latvia-born German chemist Heinrich Rose, who discovered niobium.

Egils Kaljo is an American-born Latvian from the New York area . Kaljo began listening to Latvian music as soon as he was able to put a record on a record player, and still has old Bellacord 78 rpm records lying around somewhere.

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