July 18, 2013 – The Bank of Latvia has issued a new silver collector coin. The Baby Coin is destined to become a present made by friends to a newborn baby following traditional customs of showing thus their good will and joy over the new human’s birth.
Latvia / 1 lats / silver .925 / 22g / 35mm / Design: Anita Paegle (graphic design), Janis Strupulis (plaster model) / Mintage: 5,000.
In the centre of the obverse, there is a cradle, held by a bird, with a baby in it. The inscription LATVIJAS REPUBLIKA is semi-circled beneath it.
The reverse features a mouse pulling a chest, with the inscription ‘1 lats’ below.
The inscription LATVIJAS BANKA and the year 2013, each repeated twice, are separated by rhombic dots.
‘Sweet little baby, welcome to this world! You were expected, we have great hopes for you, we wish you all the happiness in the world!’ These and similar ones are the thoughts and words with which parents usually greet their newly arrived offspring. The Latvian expecting mothers and newborn babies were protected and cared for by the pagan goddess Laima, whereas elsewhere in the world it was a task performed by other deities and spirits: for ancient Greeks, it was the goddess Eileithyia supported by Hera and Artemis; for the Romans, it was Juno.
Baby shower cake. Photo: Gandydancer / http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en
The parents’ joy over the new birth is shared by the close and more distant relatives and friends as well as colleagues. In some countries, the excitement over the expected newcomer is expressed even before the birth. Thus, for instance, in the United States, there is the baby shower thrown for the expectant mother by her girlfriends. Europeans tend to be more cautious, but in Latvia there is the tradition, celebrated in many folk-songs, of visiting the newborn about a month after his or her arrival.
Along with wishes of happiness and good health we tend to bring the newborn some present as a material, tangible evidence of our good will. In the old days, it often was a loaf of homemade bread as well as something more lasting that could be used right away: a piece of clothing, a baby carriage, a toy or a book of good advice. Often the present is something valuable reminding the recipient later in life that his or her arrival in this world was met with great joy. Many a jewellery box contains a silver spoon or horseshoe shaped brooch, a golden cross or heart on a chain. A popular present is a silver or gold coin serving as a symbolic starting capital for a materially secure life.
The Baby Coin issued by the Bank of Latvia is just such a present. The concept behind it is the wish to secure family ties, for children represent an existential issue for any country and nation. Both the giver and the taker of present, the Baby Coin, will enjoy the little mouse on the reverse of the coin pulling a chest full of sweet dreams. Join in and put also the Baby Coin in the chest!
All Latvian collector coins are listed on the website of the Bank of Latvia.