World Coins

Latvia shows horseshoe fibula in golden brooch series

Latvia continues its annual series of gold coins depicting classic brooches with the horseshoe fibula in 2017.

Images courtesy of Latvijas Banka.

Latvia’s golden brooches series of Proof .9999 fine gold €20 coins continues in 2017 with a horseshoe fibula.

The Latvijas Banka on Aug. 31 issued the second coin in the annual series in the leadup to the centennial of the nation in 2018.

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Inguna Elere created the design for the new coin, which was minted by the Austrian Mint.

The obverse of the coin features the denomination, year of issue, nation’s name and other inscriptions, many with a hashtag affixed to symbolize modernity.

The reverse features a stylized image of a 12th century horseshoe fibula with star-shaped ends.

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The history of the brooch in the territory of Latvia began with various brooches from the early Iron Age (first to fourth centuries A.D.) — the eye fibulae, tutulus fibulae, cross-ribbed fibulae, arbalest fibulae and round disc fibulae with openwork wheel, cross and fire cross motifs.

The older brooches were imported, but soon the local craftsmen began to use them as models to make their own brooches, with their form reflecting local aesthetic concepts and beliefs. Brooches were used to fasten and adorn clothing by all — men, women and children. The form of and ornamentation on brooches also served a protective function (jewelry serving as an amulet). The form, size and material may have changed, yet the brooches have remained popular until the present day.

The horseshoe fibula was the most popular type of ancient brooch and has been used in what is modern-day Latvia for nearly 1,000 years. They became a typical adornment in the Late Iron Age (ninth to 12th centuries) when they were cast in bronze, iron and silver. Horseshoe fibulae were used by both men and women. Only at the end of the 17th century were horseshoe fibulae replaced in popularity by ring fibulae.

The coin weighs 6 grams, measures 21 millimeters in diameter and has a maximum mintage of 4,000 pieces.

The coin was released at an issue price of €270. It follows the 2016 release of the disc fibula coin. In 2018, the third and final coin in the series will replicate a bubble fibula.

To order the 2017 coin, visit the Latvijas Banka’s coin store online.

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