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50 Latu 1924, Latvia

in Krause book Number: 16а
Years of issue: 23.02.1925 - 23.07.1931
Edition: 2 800
Signatures: Padomes priekšsēdētājs: Ringolds Kalnings (in office 1922-1927), Galvenais direktors: Edgars Švēde
Serie: Latvijas Bankas
Specimen of: 1924
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 145 х 80
Printer: Waterlow and Sons Limited, London

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

50 Latu 1924




Jānis Čakste - first President of Latvian Republic. Watermark is not visible on banknote!


50 Latu 1924

Rīgas pils Rīgas pils

On banknote is The old town of Riga from river Daugava.


Now about the spiers of old Riga, which are visible on the banknote (from left to right):

1)Riga castle.

2)St. James's Cathedral.

3)Our Lady of Sorrows Church.

4)Riga Cathedral.

5)St. Peter's Church.

kokle Rīgas pils

Riga Castle (Latvian: Rīgas pils) is a castle on the banks of River Daugava in Riga, the capital of Latvia. The castle was founded in 1330. Its structure was thoroughly rebuilt between 1497 and 1515. Upon the castle's seizure by the Swedes, they constructed spacious annexes in 1641. The fortress was continually augmented and reconstructed between the XVII and XIX centuries. Sometime in the 1930s, some renovation work was done by architect Eižens Laube. The Latvian government declared the castle its residence in 1938. Today it is the official residence of the President of Latvia as well as home to several museums.

The castle was built on the basis of a treaty between Riga and the Livonian Order - in the XIII century Rigans had rebelled against the Order and demolished its original castle in the centre of the town. Due to constant conflict with Rigans the Order chose to build a new castle beyond the borders of the town rather than to rebuild the original castle. The site occupied by Convent of the Saint Spirit - a hospital and shelter for the poor – was chosen and the convent moved to the location of the original castle. The castle served as the residence of the Master of the Livonian Order, but due to continuous conflicts with Rigans the residence was moved to Castle of Cēsis sometime before the castle was destroyed by Rigans in 1484. The Rigans eventually lost the fight and were forced to rebuild the castle – the restoration was finished in 1515. After the Union of Wilno order ceased to exist in 1561 the Castle became Lithuanian and in 1569 - Polish-Lithuanian stronghold. In 1621. Riga came under Swedish rule and the Castle was used to house Swedish administration.

After the city came under the Russian Empire in the early XVIII century, the castle housed administration and courts of Riga Governorate (which included most of present Latvia and Estonia) and served as residence of Governors General.

Since 1922 the castle became residence of the President of Latvia. After Soviet occupation the castle housed Council of People Commissars of Latvian SSR in 1940-1941. In 1941 the Young Pioneer organization of the Soviet Union moved into northern part of the castle, which therefore became known as the Pioneer Castle. Several museums are housed in the southern part of the castle. After the independence of Latvia was restored the northern part of the Castle again became the residence of the President of Latvia.

The original Castle was a three-floor building which enclosed a rectangular courtyard and had four rectangular towers in its corners. After the Castle was demolished in 1484 it was rebuilt with two towers replaced by round towers following the latest developments of military technologies. The Castle experienced vast development during XVII century when it was almost constantly under construction. In 1682 Arsenal was attached to the castle, it was torn down about one hundred years later, in 1783 to build a court/house.


St James's Cathedral (Latvian: Svētā Jēkaba katedrāle) is the Roman Catholic cathedral of Riga in Latvia. The cathedral is dedicated to Saint James the Greater. The building is part of the Old Riga UNESCO World Heritage Site and lies directly opposite the House of the Livonian Noble Corporation, the meeting place of Latvia's parliament the Saeima.

The church is sometimes misleadingly called St. Jacob's. The confusion arises because English, unlike most languages, uses different names for the Old Testament name Jacob and the New Testament name James.


Our Lady of Sorrows Church (Latvian: Sāpju Dievmātes Romas katoļu baznīca) is a Roman Catholic church in Riga, the capital of Latvia. The church is situated at the address 5 Pils Street. It was built in 1785.


Riga Cathedral (Latvian: Rīgas Doms; German: Dom zu Riga) formally The Cathedral Church of Saint Mary, is the Evangelical Lutheran cathedral in Riga, Latvia. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Riga.

The cathedral is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Latvia, and is featured in or the subject of paintings, photographs and television travelogues. Like all of the oldest churches of the city, it is known for its weathercock.

The church is commonly called the Dome Cathedral, a tautology as the word 'Dome' comes from the German Dom meaning 'cathedral'.


St. Peter's Church (Latvian: Svētā Pētera Evaņģēliski luteriskā baznīca) is a Lutheran church in Riga, the capital of Latvia, dedicated to Saint Peter. It is a parish church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia. The most ancient cult building of the city by the time of its foundation, was first mentioned in 1209.

It is famous for its original, recognizable spire (the total height of the church tower is 123,5 meters, of which 64.5 meters falls on the spire). Before the construction of the Riga TV Tower (1985), St. Peter's Church was the tallest building in the city.

boat boat boat

In my opinion, on banknote, on river Daugava is Latvian icebreaker "Krišjānis Valdemārs".

At the beginning of November 2011, an expedition took place in the Gulf of Finland, during which the wreckage of the pre-war Latvian icebreaker "Krisjanis Valdemars" was identified.

Divers began making expeditions to the ship about three years ago, after it was discovered by an Estonian captain. The wreckage is located about 100 meters deep in the Gulf of Finland, writes LETA.

This year, special underwater robots were sent down to record the wreckage with special equipment, during which the ship was identified as the pre-war Latvian icebreaker "Krisjanis Valdemars".

The "Krisjanis Valdemars" was the only Latvian steamship operating in the 1920's and 1930's. It made its maiden voyage from Riga Port on January 13, 1926.

boat boat

The icebreaker was used to open up shipping lanes to Riga Port, however, it was also seen as one of the young country's prides and was used to escort the Latvian president and government members on foreign visits.

After Latvia was occupied during WWII the ship was nationalized and was evacuated to Tallinn. In 1941, the "Krisjanis Valdemars" made it final voyage after it was sunk after hitting an underwater mine in the Baltic Sea on August 28, 1941. (

Inscription at the bottom: "Pret so naudas zīme latvijas banka izsniedz 14,51613 gramus zelta. Naudas zīmes nodrošinātas to pilnā nominālvērtībā".

In English: "Against this banknote, the Bank of Latvia issues 14,51613 grams of gold. Banknotes can be exchanged at their full face value.


50 Latu 1924

coat coat

The image of the golden rising sun with 11 wide wavy rays, between which there were 10 narrow wavy rays, was also placed in the azure upper half of the shield of the State Emblem of the Republic of Latvia, approved on June 16, 1921 by the Constitutional (Constituent) Assembly of Latvia, the draft of which was created by the returnee from Petrograd by the graphic artist Rihards Germanovich Zariņš, together with Vilis Krūmiņš, (the artist himself signed "Zarrinsh" in Russian, Rihards Zariņš, 1869-1939), who until 1917 held the position of technical and artistic director of the Expedition of Preparing State Papers (EZGB ) Of the Russian Empire and the Provisional Government (according to his projects, banknotes and postage stamps of the All-Russian Provisional Government were issued in 1905-1917).

The lower half of the shield of the Latvian coat of arms was cut, in the right silver field was depicted a wormy rebellious lion from the historical coat of arms of Courland and Semigale, symbolizing Kurzeme and Zemgale, and a silver griffin from the historical coat of arms of Livonia, symbolizing Vidzeme and Latgale.

Above the shield, three golden five-pointed stars were depicted in an arc of a circle, touching each other with two rays, symbolizing the unity of the three historical parts of Latvia - Kurzeme and Zemgale, Vidzeme and Latgale. ( .ru)

The inscription under the coat of arms: "Par latvijas bankas naudas Zimju viltosanu, vai viltotu zimju uzglabasanu un izplatisanu vainigos sodis saskana ar sodu likumiem".

In English: "Penalty for counterfating of Latvian money, or for the storage and distribution of counterfeit goods, is due in accordance with laws".

Māras krusts

At the heart of the ornament of the elongated letter L, on rosette, consist of traditional squares, which named Māras krusts (The cross of Mara, also the cross of crosses).

The symbol of perfection and fertility. Mara is a protector of health, custodian of women and supplier of bread. Protects against evil spirits. (Māras zīme latv.)


Designer of rosette and denomination on reverse: Ansis Cīrulis.

I became interested in the question - "Why is the State Treasury (Latvijas valsts kases zime) designated by the issuer on the 10 Lat banknotes, and the Bank of Latvia (Latvijas Bankas) is the issuer on other banknotes?"

I had to start translating the article - in the article the answer to the above question !, in Latvian, I apologize for possible translation errors.

In addition, I, unexpectedly, went to the digitized archive of Latvian periodicals, where I found an article from the Russian-language newspaper Vechernee Vremya, dated November 24, 1924, just on the topic.

Though, here what I got, finally:

"The Bank of Latvia had a monopoly right in its charters to issue banknotes, but, in general, state money had two owners - the Bank of Latvia and the Ministry of Finance (Credit Office). Such relations also formed the monetary system of the Republic of Latvia, which began with the birth of Latvia ruble in the spring of 1919 and finally was continued by the formation of the document "Law on Treasury Obligations" dated November 14, 1924. In Latvia, there were two kinds of money in circulation, but politicians and economists did not agree with the practicality of "dualism".

Firstly, Treasury bills in rubles were in circulation, which at that time were issued on the basis of the permission of the Constitutional Assembly.

2420 million rubles (at the rate of 48.4 million lats), of which 500 rubles banknotes - about 38 million lats. They represented goods and services and were printed to cover them with all national values. This was confirmed by the country, in the person of the Treasury Manager and the Minister of Finance (signatures on banknotes). This money was covered by government reserves of about 70% at face value.

Secondly, Bank of Latvia banknotes were in circulation and in lats - 22.3 million, LVL 26.0 million were issued in value (other banknotes were at the Bank of Latvia cash desk, for various expenses). They were fully provided with gold and foreign currency, confirming the creditworthiness of Latvia.

Coins - bronze, nickel and silver - were also in circulation. On November 1, 1924, bronze money was in circulation - about 0.5 million lats, nickel money - about 2.2 million lats, and silver money - about 8.5 million lats.

Such monetary dualism had both supporters and opponents. On November 14, 1924, the Sejm discussed the bills submitted. One of them - "The State Law on the Removal of Treasury Bills" - was prepared by Minister Ringold Kalnings. The second was prepared by the Seimas financial commission. In the meantime, Kalnings was not the Minister of Finance (09/10/1922-26.01.1924), and three ministers - A. Riekstins, A. Bushevičs and H. Punga succeeded each other in this post, and a draft was prepared for the withdrawal of rubles, supporting their gold coverage by the Ministry of Finance, but entrusting the Bank of Latvia with the storage of gold.

Ringold Kalnings

R. Kalnings, after returning to the post of minister, in January 1924, transferred him to the Sejm. A new project was submitted to the Finance Committee, which rejected it. Both of these projects were considered at a plenary session of the Seimas on November 14, 1924.

Mr. Kalnings’s project was based on the cautious notion that the parliamentary system would not be able to guarantee treasury guarantees if, at the populist demands and without taking into account economic circumstances, increase the issue of promissory notes at any time, thereby contributing to inflation. In connection with this threat, R. Kalnings demanded the removal of treasury bills from circulation.

This proposal was based on the principle that there should be one money regulator, an institution that can issue banknotes that can be exchanged for gold at any time. All national gold must be made available to the Bank of Latvia. It can be used only for banking operations, in accordance with the Charter of the Bank, and not separately, in the interests of some political groups. Although R. Kalnings was the Chairman of the Bank of Latvia Council at that time, this bill was not discussed in the Bank Council, therefore it should be taken into account that it was a project of the Ministry of Finance, but the fact that in the summer of 1924 a draft prepared by the Bank of Latvia Council for issuing banknotes in LVL 20 and 25 received a veto from Treasury Secretary R. Kalnings, confirming Kalnings' uncertainty about his success. This is also confirmed by his cooperation with A. Karklins, who at that time was an employee of the credit department of the Ministry of Finance.

It is possible that A. Klive for a long time was disappointed with the role of the remote observer assigned to him when deciding on this nationally important issue. A. Karklins supported the Sejm decision on the preservation of treasury bills and the state gold fund, also referring to the interests of national defense.

This bill was rejected by the Saeima financial commission, mainly because of the proposal to transfer state gold to the Bank of Latvia. The Finance Commission believed that the gold fund is a reserve for "very important and very urgent national needs." Therefore, the strategic reserve must be at the disposal of the government, which reports to the Seimas. The majority of the Finance Commission opposed the Bill R. Kalnings. Thus, the national monetary system was formed mainly by political rather than economic calculation. The diet will retain control over the accumulated gold reserves from the second half of 1921 until the first half of 1923. Therefore, indirect data lead to the conclusion that there was a dual currency system in Latvia - with two gold funds - the state and the Bank of Latvia.

But, first of all, it was necessary to take the country's strategic needs very seriously, namely, to finance defense.

From the Seimas rostrum, R. Kalnings was criticized by Peteris Bernis, deputy of the Saeima Democratic Center and non-partisan faction of public workers of the Latvian Social Democratic Party, member of the Sejm faction Voldemar Bastianis and member of his party, Julius Kelms, who, by the way, replaced R. three years later Kalnings as Chairman of the Council of the Bank of Latvia. Frankly or vaguely, they expressed the view that Latvia was not mature enough to transfer the state monetary policy only to the Bank of Latvia. Gold, in their opinion, was a strategic security key for Latvia, which should be controlled by the political elite.

R. Kalnings' Law on the Removal of Treasury Bills from Circulation, Article 1 of the draft, received the support of only 24 deputies, so the draft was not discussed and was considered rejected. The majority of the Sejm supported the preservation of treasury bills, and in the afternoon, November 14, 1924, with 49 votes in favor and 12 against, without abstention, the Law on Treasury Bills was adopted (published in the government newspaper on November 24), which indicated that "treasury bills issued in rubles should be withdrawn from circulation, and new ones issued in return.

Promissory notes in lats must have the following denominations: 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 Lats. The total amount of treasury bills in circulation cannot exceed forty eight million lats, and the state is responsible for all issued money. To ensure the rate of issued treasury bills, that is, financial stability, the state invests gold in the Bank of Latvia as a state contribution to a special fund equal to at least a quarter of the outstanding amounts of the total nominal value of treasury bills."

Thus, a double currency system was supported in Latvia: the Ministry of Finance controlled treasury bills (paper and metal), but the Bank of Latvia also issued banknotes. In particular, banknotes and treasury bills, incl. coins - emission stages are reflected in the systematic studies of Latvian financial historians.

The Bank of Latvia issued bank notes in denominations of 20, 25, 50, 100 and 500 Lats and treasury bills of 5, 10 and 20 Lat. Also coins are 1, 2 and 5 Lats in silver, 1, 2 and 5 centimes in bronze and nickel coins of 10, 20 and 50 centimes.

The banknotes of the two issuers differed mainly in face value (treasury bills were issued in small paper notes and metal coins and served mainly as working currency on a daily basis). In order to prevent inflation, money turnover in Latvia was not subsequently increased.

Banknotes of the Bank of Latvia were covered only with available funds provided for in the Bank Charter. The circulation of issued banknotes was relatively small, and the Bank of Latvia did not present difficulties in ensuring security. The largest number of foreign reserves was in 1928 (LVL 81.5 million), the share of gold in foreign reserves increased significantly during the first 10 years of operation of the Bank of Latvia. In turn, the actual issue did not reach the potential issue in any year.

The Bank of Latvia, although the Charter provides that banknotes could be issued if their amount does not exceed LVL 100 million, secured by gold or in safe foreign currency in the amount of at least 50% of the amount, allowed the use of short-term bills, following the principle that all issued banknotes must be fully covered in gold or safe foreign currency.

Even during the global economic crisis, when foreign exchange reserves were significantly depleted, the provision in lats more than doubled the requirements of the law. Also, in international relations, the government has always been able to maintain the officially declared value of lats. The most difficult period began after September 21, 1931, when the world, torn by the economic crisis, refused to peg national currencies to gold and allowed them to fall, Latvia did not follow this example. Although, on October 8, 1931, the “Regulation on Currency Transactions”, published by the Cabinet of Ministers, in accordance with Article 81 of the Constitution, was repealed.

It talked about exchanging banknotes for gold. On this, formally, the Golden Lats ended, although the exchange rate of the Golden Lats continued for another five years.

In order to prevent a sharp reduction in the Bank of Latvia's foreign exchange reserves due to increased demand for foreign currency, the state suspended the free circulation of banknotes in lats.

Foreign currency trading was established as a state monopoly and transferred to the Bank of Latvia." ( (