Poet Čaks honored with unusual coin

One of the most beloved of Latvian poets is Aleksandrs Čaks. One of his most memorable poems, “Atzīšanās” (with its opening phrase “Miglā asaro logs…”), provides the theme for the latest commemorative silver coin released April 14 by the Bank of Latvia.

The new proof coin, in the shape of a square and made of 0.925 pure silver, was designed by artists Ilmārs Blumergs, who provided the graphical design, and Ligita Franckeviča, who created the plastic model. The coin has a face value of 1 lat and has a mintage of 7,000. It was minted by Rahapaja Oy of Finland.

Čaks (1901-1950) was considered both a modernist and an urbanist who reflected not only the beauty of the city of Rīga in his poetry, but also the grittiness, with poems about homelessness, prostitutes, and poverty. The Rīga street Čaka iela is named in his honor.

This is the first Latvian commemorative coin released in 2011. According to the Bank of Latvia website, other releases planned for 2011 include coins celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Rīga-Daugavpils train line; the 800th anniversary of coin mintage in Rīga; the 275th anniversary of the Rundāle Castle; the “Non-traditional Solutions Coin” (a silver coin with stone elements); the 800th anniversary of the Rīga Cathedral; and the final coin in the Hanseatic League cities collection, celebrating Rīga and coinciding with the 810th anniversary of the city’s founding.

For further information, visit the Bank of Latvia website www.bank.lv.

Čaka moneta

The reverse of the silver commemorative coin honoring poet Aleksandrs Čaks shows a cobblestone street. (Image from Bank of Latvia)

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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