The short vocabulary of the coins,
struck or used in Latvia

This vocabulary reflects just a short introduction - overview - to the different denominations of coins, struck or used in Latvia since the 13th century. The detailed information with coin mintage years, weight, diameter is covered in articles on the respective historical periods. Pictures in this page show mostly the coins, which were used in Latvia in previous centuries, but were struck in other territories.

dot ARTIG (Ortug). The silver coin, used in the Livonia Confederation since the middle of 14th century until early 15th century. A. was the unit of money account in the Early Medieval in Scandinavia (1 A. = 1/24 mark or 1/3 ore). Artigs were struck by the Order of Livonia in Tallinn (Reval) and by Tartu (Terbat) Bishopric, but they were used in whole Livonia (including Riga). The weight of A. was 1.0 - 1.2 g, diameter was 18 - 20 mm. 1 A. = 3 pfennigs (Lubeck type) in money account system of the Livonia Confederation. Artigs were called schillings after the money reform of Livonia Confederation in 1422-1426. Since 1420's A. was struck also by the Archbishopric of Riga.

Dreipolcher, 1623 dot DREIPOLCHER (Dreipolker). Silver coin, named also three-halves-groschen or ferding. 1 thaler = 60 D. It was struck in Poland since 1614, according the pattern of German groschen. D. was struck in Riga since 1620, in Duchy of Courland - during the reign of Duke Friedrich Casimir (1682-1698).
Picture: Dreipolcher, 1623, Poland.

Ducat, 1771 dot DUCAT (Ducatus). The most widespread golden coin in Europe. At the beginning (12th century) the name D. was given by people to Napolis - Sicily silver, billion and even copper coins. Golden D. (augusthal, florin, zechin) were struck since the 13th century. D. type golden coin with weight of 3.5 g (fineness far above 9000) became as international trading coin. In territory of Latvia D. was struck in Riga since 1523, Cesis - since 1559, Jelgava - since 1644. 1 golden D. = 3 silver thalers.
Picture: Ducat, 1771, Netherlands, Holland.

dot FERDING (Verding). Silver coin, first struck in 1515 in Riga (as joint mintage of the Archbishopric of Riga and the Order of Livonia). 1 F. (weight 2.8 g) = 1/4 mark = 9 schillings. During the Poland reign the mintage of F. was ceased, but during the Sweden reign this name was given to dreipolcher.

Grossus, 1471-1483 dot GROSCHEN (Grossus). The silver coin, struck in Italy since late 12th century. The most widespread type of this coin in Western Europe was Tournouse G., struck in France, weight 4.20 g, Ag 958. But in North Europe the most popular was Pragensis G. (struck in Bohemia since around 1300), which was an official coin also in Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 15th century. G. became as exchange coin since 1570, at first 1/24, later 1/36 of thaler. Groschen was struck in Riga first in 1581 during the Poland reign (weight 1.70 g, diameter 22.5 mm, billion). Three-halves-groschen, called dreipolcher was struck in Riga since 1620. G. was also as money account unit in 17th century in Latvia: 1 State thaler = 90 groschen, 1 Albertusthaler = 86 groschen. G., struck in Flandria, Holland, Brabant, France, Prague, have been found in territory of Latvia.
Picture: Grossus Pragensis, ND(1471-1483), Bohemia.

dot GULDEN (Guilder). At first gold, later silver coin. Gold G. were struck in Germany first in the 2nd half of the 14th century (gold florin was used as pattern). Germany began to struck large silver coins - guldengroschen - since 2nd half of the 15th century. Later (since 1518) these coins were called thalers (their value was equivalent to gold G. The gold G. got the name goldgulden (struck rarely after the 16th century), but the silver coin got the name G. or florin. G. in Latvia was struck in small amounts during few years in Riga and Cesis.

2 Lati, 1993 dot LATS. The official currency unit of Republic of Latvia. First it was introduced in 1922. 1 lats = 100 santimi. In Republic of Latvia, the Latvia Bank notes, State cash notes, silver coins (1, 2 and 5 L. and small exchange currency was valid during 1922-1941. State cash notes of 5, 10, 20 L. were emitted. This currency was introduced again in 1993 after regaining the independence of Republic in 1991. Today in currency are 1, 2 and 100 lats coins and 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 L. banknotes. Additionally, it is necessary to add numerous "Proof" quality coins, issued in silver and gold on special occasions. The only exception released in normal circulation is 2 lati coin, commemorating the 75th Anniversary of Independence of Republic in 1992.
Picture: 2 Lati (75th Ann.), 1993, Latvia.

dot MARK (Marck). Silver coin, struck since the 16th century. It was in circulation in North Germany, Scandinavia, Estonia, Latvia. This coin was struck in Riga also. Since the 14th century 1 Riga M. = 36 schillings, but at the end of the 15th century 1 Riga M. = 180 schillings.

Pfennig, ND(1552-1558) dot PFENNIG (Pfening). The silver coin, called also as denarius in Medieval in different countries. P. was struck since the 8th century and was actually the only coin in Europe until groschen appeared in the 13th century. (1 P. = 1/12 groschen). P. became as exchange coin in th 15th century. P. is the first coin (bracteate) ever, struck in Riga by Archbishop Albert (1199-1229). The history of P. bracteate mintage is as follows: early 12th-15th centuries (with interruptions) struck in Riga, Tallinn, Tartu. P., using as an example Lubeck P., was struck as normal both-side coin in Tallin and Tartu since late 14th century, but Riga - since the 15th century (1 mark = 432 P.).
Picture: Pfennig, ND(1552-1558), Bishopric of Tartu.

dot RIGA COINS. The first documents, confirming coin minting in Riga, are from 1211, when Bishop Albert issued the privilege, which said, that Riga coins has to be with the same weight and proof as Gotland coins, only their design may differ (the weight of 4.5 pfennigmarks had to be equivalent to 1 Gotland weight mark). The first surely dated coins are artigs of Riga Archbishop Johan VI Ambundi (1418-1424). In accordance with the money reform of the Livonia Confederation (1422-1426), the coins (schillings, pfennigs, scherfs) were struck by the Archbishopric of Riga, but after Salaspils treatment, also by the Order of Livonia. During short periods there was a joint coinage by Archbishopric and Order. Since 1515, the bigger silver coins - marks, ferdings - were struck, sometimes also gold ducats (first in 1523) and silver thalers (first 1525). Since 1530's, the Gotland money account system was used, but parallel was also Lubeck money accounting system (later Lubeck system only). 1 Riga mark = 48 ore = 36 schillings = 144 artigs = 432 Lubeck pfennigs.
During the period of Free City (1561-1581), coins were struck still in accordance with the money account system of Livonia Confederation. Mainly they were schillings, ferdings, marks, 1/2 marks and thalers). When Riga was taken by Poland in 1581, the coins were struck according to the monetary system of Poland. The basic coin was thaler, divided into certain amount of groschens, three-groschens, dreipolchers, schillings. Gold ducats were struck also during some years. When Riga and Vidzeme were conquered by Sweden in 1621, coins still were struck according with the monetary system of Poland, (the coins of this period were found in hoards not only in Vidzeme, but also in Courland, Zemgale, Belorussia, Ukraine and Poland). On order by Christina, the Queen of Sweden, the second government mint of Sweden was established on 1644 at the Riga Jacob's Church. This mint struck schillings and dreipolchers of Livonia. 1 State thaler = 270 schillings (1630-1640), but due to the continuous decrease of silver amount in schillings and because of Suchava (in modern Romania) schilling forgeries, in 1760's 1 thaler = 540 schillings, later - even to 720 schillings. As basic trade coins used in Riga at this time were Western Europe thalers. The coin mintage decreased during The North War (1700-1721). The last coin struck in Riga was the ducat of Carl XII, struck in 1707. When Riga and Vidzeme were incorporated in Empire of Russia (after The North War), the coins of Russia were the official currency. However, the people preferred Western Europe money. In order to promote the currency of Russia, in Moscow were struck special coins - livonezs (1757). They were similar to thalers (with the shields of arms of Riga and Tallinn), 1 livonez = 96 kopeks. But these coins were not popular, so their mintage was ceased. Only, when Latvia was fully incorporated in Empire of Russia (late 18th century), the only legal currency in Riga was money of Russia.

dot RIGA EXCHANGE NOTES, 1919 (Rigas Mainas Zimes, 1919). Soviets took over in Riga early 1919. Because of the lack of exchange money, Soviet government in Riga on 19 Feb, 1919 gave the permission to Deputy Council of Riga Workers to release exchange notes. The following notes were actually released: 1, 3, 5, 10 roubles of total amount approx. 20 million roubles. Riga exchange notes were supposed to be used only in Riga and Riga district. However, later Soviet government issued the law, accepting these notes as legal mean of payment in all territory of Latvia since May 1919.

Santims, 1928 dot SANTIMS. The exchange coin of Republic of Latvia. 1 S. = 1/100 lats. During the first Republic period, the following coins were released: 1, 2, 5 S. (bronze), 10, 20, 50 S. (nickel). During 1922-1935, these coins were struck abroad (Switzerland and Great Britain), but in 1937-1939 were struck in Riga. This coinage was obsolete in early 1941. When independence was regained on 1991, the new currency was introduced in 1993. The current santims are struck in Germany and are as follows: 1, 2 S. (Cu plated steel), 5, 10, 20 S. (brass).
Picture: Santims, 1928, Latvia.

Schilling, 1664 dot SCHILLING (Solidus). Silver coin, which replaced artig during the monetary reform of Livonia Confederation in 1422-1426. S. since the middle of 15th century were struck in the Archbishopric of Riga, the Order of Livonia, the Free City of Riga (1561-1581), and during the reigns of Poland (1581-1621) and Sweden (1621-1665). During separate years these coins were struck in Cesis (15th-16th centuries), Dole (1572), Duchy of Courland (16th-18th centuries).
Picture: Schilling, 1664, Livonia (Reign of Sweden), State mint, Riga.

1/4 Patagon, 1612-1621 dot THALER (Dalder). The large size silver coin (16th-early 20th centuries). The first time it was struck in Joachimstal (Jachimov) and was called Joachimsthaler. The first T. was struck in Riga since 1557, Cesis - since 1525, Jelgava - since 1575. This denomination replaced mark in Latvia since 1581. The most popular trading coins in Riga were T. of Holy Roman Empire (1 State thaler = 90 groschen), of Netherlands (Lion thaler) and of Spanish Netherlands (Albertusthaler). 1 Albertusthaler = 86 groschen, 1 Lion thaler = 72 groschen.
Picture: 1/4 Albertusthaler (1/4 Patagon), 1612-1621, Spanish Netherlands, Flanders.

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