Pursuant to the Law "On the Bank of Latvia", the Bank of Latvia holds the exclusive right to issue the national currency, in the form of banknotes and coins, as the only legal tender in the country.
The national currency of the Republic of Latvia is the lats consisting of 100 santims. The Council of the Bank of Latvia determines the description of banknotes and coins, their numbering, registration and monetary backing.
Banknotes and coins denominated in lats have been gradually put into circulation starting with March 5, 1993 when the first renewed lats banknote - 5 lats by the Bank of Latvia - appeared. The currency reform in Latvia has been fully completed as of July 20, 1998 when the 500 lats banknote was put into circulation. At present, banknotes with nominal values of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 lats, as well as coins with nominal values of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 santims and 1, 2 and 100 lats are in circulation.
The Council of the Bank of Latvia also establishes procedures for withdrawing banknotes and coins from circulation and for replacing damaged banknotes and coins.
The Bank of Latvia is entitled to issue commemorative coins, including those made of precious metals.
The Bank of Latvia disseminates its banknotes and coins via its branches and credit institutions. The central bank is continuously monitoring the amount of currency in circulation, which is one of the key economic indicators of any country. These data are summarised and published on a regular basis.
Coins of the Bank of Latvia
All coins, except the 100-lats gold coin, were struck in 1992 by Bayerisches Hauptmuenzamt (Germany). In 1997, the 1-santims coin was struck repeatedly by Den Kongelige Mynt (Norway) and in 2003 by Monnaie de Paris (France), the 2-santims coin was struck repeatedly by British Royal Mint (United Kingdom).
The 1-lats coin featuring a stork was struck in 2001 by Rahapaja Oy (Finland). The coin's reverse was designed by Olga Silova. The 1-lats coin featuring an ant was struck in 2003 by Rahapaja Oy (Finland). Artists: Maris Putns, Artis Zvirgzdins, Davids Rubins (graphic design), Ligita Franckevica (plaster model). The 1-lats coin featuring a mushroom was struck in 2004 by Rahapaja Oy (Finland). Artists: Guntars Sietins (graphic design), Janis Strupulis (plaster model).
The 1-lats coin featuring a fairytale character Spriditis was struck in 2004 by Royal Dutch Mint (the Netherlands). Artist Ivars Mailitis.
The bimetal 2-lats coin was struck in 1999 by British Royal Mint (United Kingdom). Artists: Gunars Lusis, Janis Strupulis.
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