Latvijas Banka issues collector coin ""Baltars". Porcelain"
On Tuesday, 9 August 2016, Latvijas Banka is issuing a 5 euro silver collector coin of a unique shape ""Baltars". Porcelain". The coin dedicated to "Baltars", the workshop of fine china and faience painting, the pride of Latvian national culture, has been designed by reproducing the image of the plate "Dance" (Romans Suta was the author of the composition; 1927) and in the shape of a plate.

The graphic design of the collector coin which is a miniature piece of art was created by Latvian artist Frančeska Kirke, also the author of the commemorative 1 lats coin featuring a horseshoe and the collector coin "Basketball".

 

The coin ""Baltars". Porcelain" has been minted by UAB Lietuvos monetų kalykla (Lithuania). The graphic mark of "Baltars" is depicted on one side of the coin; the other side features the reproduction of the plate "Dance" by Romans Suta (1927). The coin has been struck in the shape of a flat plate.

 

One of the greatest art treasures in the Latvian Cultural Canon is the impressive achievements of "Baltars", the workshop where fine china was artistically painted in the 1920s. "Baltars" resulted from the idea of the Latvian painter, graphic artist and composition virtuoso Romans Suta (1896–1944) to create a cultural milieu corresponding to the era of modernism and its language of form. His intent mostly focused on interior design and applied arts where decorative ceramics was supposed to work as a peculiar accent of functionalist and constructivist aesthetics and ideology.

 

The masterpieces of decorative art made at "Baltars" matched the quality of the highest achievements of Art Deco and have become the pride of Latvian national culture. Latvijas Banka honours their cultural and historical significance by issuing a collector coin dedicated to "Baltars".

 

The collector coin ""Baltars". Porcelain" is legal tender in the Republic of Latvia, yet the release of such coins in circulation is highly unlikely, as they are in fact works of art and are in special demand among coin collectors and other interested parties. The maximum mintage of the coin is limited to 5 000.

 

The price of the coin at Latvijas Banka Cashier's Offices is 53 euro. Beginning with 9 August the coin will be on sale at Latvijas Banka Cashier's Offices (K. Valdemāra iela 1B in Riga and Teātra iela 3 in Liepāja); today from 11.00 it can also be reserved via the collector coin and other numismatic product online reservation service under the Banknotes and Coins Section (https://rezervetmonetu.bank.lv) of Latvijas Banka website www.bank.lv. The first and foremost advantage of the service is an opportunity for clients to buy new collector coins and different numismatic products offered online by Latvijas Banka at the most convenient time for them and without queuing up. It is most likely to suit the needs of customers, e.g. from regions, who are busy on the initial days of launching a new coin or cannot visit the Cashier's Offices of Latvijas Banka due to other reasons.

 

The coin will also be available at such traditional points of sale as coin shops, book stores and souvenir and jewellery shops. Collector coins issued by Latvijas Banka and other numismatic products are for sale also online from the JSC "Latvijas Pasts".

 

Information about the collector coins currently on sale at Latvijas Banka Cashier's Offices is available at https://monetas.bank.lv/en/coins-for-sale. It shows that a vast range of thematically and artistically diverse collector and commemorative coins are still available.

 

"BALTARS". PORCELAIN

 

Face value: 5 euro

Weight: 18.00 g; diameter: 38.61 mm; shaped with slight incurvature

Metal: silver of .925 fineness; quality: proof; colour-printed reverse

Struck in 2016 by UAB Lietuvos monetų kalykla (Lithuania)

Artist: Frančeska Kirke (graphic design)

 

Obverse

The graphic sign of "Baltars" is placed in the centre of the obverse. It is semi-circled by the name LATVIJA and the inscription 5 EURO at the top and bottom respectively, with the year 2016 featured on the right.

Reverse

The reverse shows the reproduction of plate "Dance" by Romans Suta (1927); the coin is struck in the shape of a flat plate.

Edge.

Plain.

 

One of the greatest art treasures in the Latvian Cultural Canon is the impressive achievements of "Baltars", the workshop where fine china was artistically painted in the 1920s. "Baltars" resulted from the idea of the Latvian painter, graphic artist and composition virtuoso Romans Suta (1896–1944) to create a cultural milieu corresponding to the era of modernism and its language of form. His intent mostly focused on interior design and applied arts where decorative ceramics was supposed to work as a peculiar accent of functionalist and constructivist aesthetics and ideology.

 

To bring this idea to fruition, the society "Baltars" (from Latin ars Baltica – Baltic art) was established and registered on 1 February 1925, with the production unit installed at 23 Lāčplēša Street in Riga. Journalist Austra Ozoliņa-Krauze (1890–1941), who also lent financial support to "Baltars", generously allowed it to have a ceramic shop, a salon for exhibiting and selling the porcelain and, later, a painting studio in her property. The creative core of the workshop was Romans Suta together with his wife painter Aleksandra Beļcova (1892–1981), the virtuoso of Latvian graphic art Sigismunds Vidbergs (1890–1970) and, occasionally, painters Erasts Šveics (1895–1992) and Lūcija Kuršinska (1894–1976).

 

At "Baltars" workshop, such top quality art objects as decorated porcelain plates and sometimes vases were made. Their outstanding quality was not revealed in the emphatically simple forms of the china but in its lavish decorations. Usually these were compositions involving one or more figures to convey a message; sometimes still life was interpreted in a Cubist manner, thus continuing the modernist expression topical in Western Europe and gaining popularity in Latvian painting and graphic art. At the same time, the imaginative forms, impressive as they may be, do not hide the pride of Latvianness. Painted porcelain objects of "Baltars" were generously imbued with Cubist reflections, visual composition so typical for Constructivism, and interconnections in tune with Art Deco. Their expressive decorative and monumental qualities were crucially reinforced by the strikingly bright and highly contrasted use of colours, the emphatic interpretation of compositions on a flat surface, and the ornamental organisation of individual elements.

 

The plots of the paintings were those of the 1920s Romanticism. Dance parties or masked carnivals, representing human joy, poetic nostalgia and even mystery, were among the most popular themes. In many of the paintings the Latvian identity is revealed in the depiction of festive traditions, wedding polkas, national costumes and, on occasion, a historical or social subject matter.

 

The artists would sketch decorative patterns first with watercolour and gouache on paper. The technologist Dmitry Abrosimov took the responsibility for the end product – the painting on the porcelain after firing in the kiln. Abrosimov had amassed rich experience working at M. Kuznetsov porcelain factories. Direct authorial work, decorations hand painted with a pen on the china, was created only by Sigismunds Vidbergs.

 

The high artistic level of "Baltars" was recognised, and, as early as 1925, it fetched three medals at International Decorative Arts Exhibition in Paris. They were gold medals for Sigismunds Vidbergs' composition of plates and Dmitry Abrosimov's technical solutions, and a bronze for Romans Suta's plate compositions. Works from the "Baltars" collections were purchased even by the National Museum of Ceramics at Sèvres. Unfortunately, the high prices dictated by production costs and unwillingness to compromise as far as aesthetics was concerned did not increase sales incomes, and on 1 July 1928 "Baltars" ceased functioning.

 

The masterpieces of decorative art made at "Baltars" matched the quality of the highest achievements of Art Deco and have become the pride of Latvian national culture. Latvijas Banka honours their cultural and historical significance by issuing a collector coin with a reproduction of the design for the plate "Dance" (author of the composition was Romans Suta; 1927). 

 

Activities of Latvijas Banka regarding the issuance of collector and 2 euro commemorative coins

 

Since 1993, Latvijas Banka has issued 98 lats collector coins and 14 euro collector coins, with over 50 Latvian artists having participated in designing them.

 

The Latvian collector and commemorative coins have earned high international respect and a number of prestigious awards; moreover, the "Coin of Latvia" won the international 2010 Coin of the Year Award at the contest organised by Krause Publications and World Coin News. The silver collector coin "The Baltic Way" was the winner in the nomination "Best Contemporary Event" at the above contest in 2015.

 

The Coin Design Commission of Latvijas Banka, which is a special purpose entity formed on 12 November 1993, plays a role of utmost importance in the coin issuing process. The Commission is made up of the employees of Latvijas Banka, outstanding Latvian experts of art and culture, and artists and scientists.

 

After the introduction of the euro, Latvijas Banka carries on the tradition of issuing collector coin series with motifs characteristic of Latvia executed in high artistic quality. Collector coins are legal tender only in the issuing country. They are unlikely to come into general circulation, for, by nature, they are works of art enjoying high demand from the numismatic community and other interested parties.

 

The face value of collector coins must differ from that of coins in general circulation (it must be, e.g. 5 or 10 euro). Their specifications, including colour, diameter, weight, material, etc., shall be cardinally distinctive from those of the coins in general circulation.

 

The information about collector coins currently on sale at Latvijas Banka Cashier's Offices is available at https://monetas.bank.lv/en/coins-for-sale).

 

The issuance of 2 euro commemorative circulation coins of special design is another area of coin art. All euro area countries are entitled to issue two such euro commemorative coins per year (similar to 1 lats special circulation coins previously issued in Latvia), featuring events of national, European or global significance. Furthermore, every year euro area countries can additionally produce a third 2 euro commemorative coin, provided that it is issued jointly and that it commemorates events of Europe-wide.

 

Commemorative coins bear the same features and have the same common or European side as the normal 2 euro coins, while their national sides differ and feature a national commemorative motif.

 

Euro commemorative coins are legal tender throughout the euro area. That means they can be used – and must be accepted – just like any other euro coin.

Related galleries