Latvia: The smoother Milda

Started by chrisild, December 10, 2013, 02:57:11 PM

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Most people who collect European coins will know the 5 lati coin that Latvia issued in the late 1920s and early 30s. The silver piece, designed by Rihards Zariņš, features a young woman, colloquially called Milda. The model was Zelma Brauere; she was also used for the woman in the boat on the 50 santīmu coin issued in 1922. This is her portrait used on the 5 lati piece (image from Wikipedia).




Her portrait is currently not used on Latvian circulation coins, but "Milda" appears on the 500 latu banknote. Those notes will cease to become legal tender when the euro cash comes in January. However, as you may know, "Milda" is also depicted on the new Latvian euro coins (€1 and €2).

When trying to find images of the designs, I came across this video:  Yes, it is in Latvian, and no, I do not understand the language. But as from about 50 seconds (that is where the link hopefully takes you) one can see Zariņš's plaster model ... and this design - see attached image - which ultimately did not make it.

The minted lady, so to say, looks "smoother", I think. She has a somewhat shorter nose, no cheek shade, and the eyes are a little different too. In a way, the design that did not make it shows Zelma while the coin features Milda. :)


Ukrainii Pyat

Minted coin definitely better.  I am searching for 2012 example of 5 lati coin that commemorate original piece.  It bad that Soviets forcibly seized these coins in 1940s but if they hadn't maybe not so many be available now because curiously USSR only stored the coins - not melted down or destroyed.
Донецк Украина Donets'k Ukraine


Language wise, I sometimes wonder whether two people use your account. ;)  Agreed about the two designs. As for the later issues for collectors, there was one in 2003 (a tiny gold coin) and that 2012 silver piece. That one has the same size as the original, and was issued to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the central bank. Here is a dealer (not a recommendation, just an observation) who wants 80 latu, about 114 euro, for the silver piece ...



Replying to a 3+ year old topic ;) but with a reason: Latvia introduced the euro in January 2014, and "Milda" came back to the country's circulation coins. A little later, the Latvian central bank released this video (in English) about Zariņš, Brauere and the design:

The artist and his muse


If the texts in the video seem a bit too sugary: as far as this mere tourist can tell, they are true. Latvians are indeed enjoying their freedom and they do sincerely like Milda. The video shows some well known spots in Riga, some nicely fixed up, some new. It also shows a statue in central Riga that attests to the popularity of the Milda figure, even under Soviet occupation. What it cannot show is quiet pleasantness of the people. It was a joy to re-visit Riga.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.