header Notes Collection

10 Latu 1934, Latvia

in Krause book Number: 25с
Years of issue: 28.06.1934 - 25.03.1941
Edition: 1 300 000
Signatures: Finanšu Ministrs: Jānis Annuss, Valsts saimn. dep. dir. v.i: Jānis Skujevics
Serie: Latvijas valsts kases zime
Specimen of: 1933
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 154 х 69
Printer: Portals Limited, United Kingdom (based in Riga)

* 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.

10 Latu 1934




Atis Kronvalds or Kronvaldu Atis (15 April 1837 - 17 February 1875) was a Latvian writer, linguist and pedagogue, as well as a prominent member of the Young Latvia movement.

Kronvalds was born to a tailor family, but was raised by priests of Durbe. After studies in Liepāja he became a private teacher. In 1860 he started to study medicine at the University of Berlin; however, he left after half a year when he ran out of money. He returned to Latvia, where he resumed work as a private teacher in Durbe.

After returning to Latvia, Kronvalds joined the Latvian nationalist movement "Young Latvians" and became a passionate advocate of Latvian rights, language, and culture. In 1865 he moved to Tartu to study pedagogy at the University of Tartu. In 1868 he became a teacher at the teacher seminary there. He participated in the social activities of local Latvian society; notably, he renewed the "Latvian evenings" tradition begun by Krišjānis Valdemārs. He also wrote works of educational theory and several articles on education and linguistics. In 1872 he wrote Nationale Bestrebungen, the manifesto of the Young Latvians. In 1873 Kronvalds moved to Vecpiebalga, where he worked as a teacher in a local school; he also participated by delivering two speeches, in the first Latvian Song and Dance Festival in the same year. He is one of the most famous Latvian authors of all time.

MildaThe engraving on banknote was made after this photo of Atis Kronvalds.


10 Latu 1934


Inscription, centered: "Valsts kases zīmes nodrošinātas to pilnā nominālvērtībā" or in English "Government treasury bills are accepted at their full face value".

Denominations are 6 times in numerals and 1 time in words.


10 Latu 1934

Girl in national dress sitting on a log. She is holding the ears of wheat.

I got interested in the following questions:

1) Was the image of the girl taken from real woman?

2) Is it possible, according to the visible elements of national clothes, to determine - from which historical region of Latvia designer Rihards Zariņš portrayed this girl?

The answer to question number 1:


The prototype of the girls in folk costume became a senior proofreader of the Latvian State Securities Printing House Zelma Brauere (1900-1977), which youth, beauty and warmth attracted Richard Zariņš, when he was 50 years old. Image of Zelma Brauere in various forms is on the drawings, created by him, on banknotes in denominations of 10 and 20 Latu issued in 1930s, 500 Latu, issued in 1992-2014 and the coins 5 Lati 1929-1932 and 1 and 2 Euro.

"One of the most striking images in Latvian folk songs - tautumeita ("woman of the people"), which appears bright like snow, and illuminates everything that is near," - describes the Bank of Latvia the woman, whose image today adorns the Latvian euro coins.

How and who was immortalized on the Latvian coins and banknotes?

It happened in the back, in the days of the First Republic - the image of the so-called Milda decorated silver 5 Lati coin.

Once in 1918 Latvia became independent, there was talk in the community about all the possible variants of the name of the national currency. There have been proposals to name the money "oaks" and "acorns", "sun" and "austra", "Ligo" and "Daile", "large" and "small" (ozoli, zīles, saule, austra, līga, daile, dižā, sīkā). The term "Lat" was heavily criticized.

The last word on this issue belonged to the head of the Cabinet - Siegfried Meierovics, that on August 3, 1922 decided, that the money will be named Latvian Lats and Santims.

But Milda had to wait another seven years before, as long as her picture finally placed on silver coin. At the time, the Ministry of Finance has decided that the Latvian money should be decorated with the "face of the Virgin", symbolizing freedom. By the way, the image of the native girl began to call by people Milda purely by analogy with one of the most common female names in Latvia.

The Academy of Arts was launching a competition in which it was necessary to find the image of "virgin". The competition won Karlis Zemdega. But the version of Zemdega was not taken, as his work criticized by the Ministry of Finance, stating that "tautumeita need to be not only well drawn from a technical point of view, but also symbolize the Latvian national image".

As a result, the work by Karlis Zemdega was corrected by 50-year-old publisher Rihards Zariņš. And as the model he chose was the 29-year-old Zelma Brauere, worked as a proofreader. Zelma was a graduate of philology and spoke fluent in seven languages.


Correcting the image of Zemdega, Zariņš also gave the face a little Zelma's prominent charming smile, like the Mona Lisa's face ... And "tautumeita" immediately became to radiate femininity and kindness.

Zelma had a difficult fate. In 1935, at the Krustpils airport, in accident, died her fiance, the pilot, after which she never been married. All her life she lived in Pardaugava, in a wooden house on the street Maza Nometnju, 59. The house is preserved until now. Tragically died in 1977 - she was knocked by motorcyclist. She was buried in the Lachupes cemetery in folk costume - in same, as she depicted on the famous 5 Lati coin.

Here is a video on the topic, in English, the duration is 4 and a half minutes.

The answer to question number 2:

With this question I turned to a number of libraries in Latvia (Jelgava, Bauska), as well as to the "Latvian National Center for Culture", Riga, Pils laukums 4.

I am very grateful to Mrs.Linda Rubena, an Expert of traditional culture (applied art) at the Center for National Culture in Riga for the information and photo. She really helped me with the definition of native costume.

Also thanks a lot to Mrs.Ērika Pelcere, Head of the Library of the city of Bauska and local History Museum staff for their assistance.

rockHere's what Linda Rubena wrote to me:

"... On this banknote is unmarried woman, as on her head is a wreath with a interwoven ribbon - such wreaths could wear only unmarried girls. By the wreath it can be assumed, that it is the national costume from the region of Vidzeme (Rihards Zariņš collected samples of the Latvian national ornament, traveled in all Latvia. By order of the ethnographic department of the Russian Museum has formed a collection of clothes, jewelry, objects of culture and life of the beginning and middle of the XIX century from many districts of Vidzeme and Kurzeme and is considered the founder of the congregation on the ethnography of the Latvians).

In total in Latvia are five ethnographic regions: Kurzeme, Zemgale, Vidzeme, Latgale and Celia.

Vidzeme (Livonian: Vidūmō), meaning "Middle land", is also known as Livland, though it comprises only a small part of traditional Livland. Present Vidzeme is the Latvian part of Swedish Livonia and City of Riga. It roughly corresponds to the former Alūksne, Cēsis, Gulbene, Limbaži, Madona, Valka, Valmiera districts and parts of Aizkraukle, Ogre and Riga districts north of Daugava river.

rockBy the clothes it can also be assumed, that a girl is from Vidzeme - by her skirt and striped Villaine (shoulder girdle, cape). The only difficult, specifically, to determine the concrete area - there were the clothes like this also in Latgale (region south of Vidzeme), and such embroidered villaine girls weared also on the border of Vidzeme and Latgale - in Krustpils (today part of the city Ekabpils) and in Celia. The Villaine on banknote dates from the beginning of the XIX century.

The ornament on shirt sleeves, too, could be found in both places - Vidzeme and Latgale.

rockThe Mannequin in national costume of Krustpils is on left side. The photos were taken at the exhibition of Linda Rubena in Munich, Germany and Luxembourg (2015).

On the mannequin is "caged" skirt (on banknote is stripped), but ethnographers of the Center of national culture in Riga are pretty sure, that in Latvia was a time, when all regions had first-color skirts, then - striped skirts (the beginning of XIX century), and the most recent, in the middle and the end of the XIX century - caged skirts, as most fashionable.

rockThe brooch on the girl's chest named Sakta (latv.) - a once wore, pinned to the shirt, was used only to maintain Villaine.

On banknote, specifically, depicted burbuļsakta - "bubble brooch".

The most common item of jewellery was a brooch or pin (Latvian: sakta). One or more of these would be used either to fasten the neck opening of a shirt, or to keep a shawl in place.

Brooches were usually silver, except in western Latvia (Kurzeme) where they might be plated with bronze.

Although brooches might be adorned with red or blue-coloured stones, the most commonly found gem is amber. This appears on brooches, and also was used to make beads for necklaces, especially in southern Latvia. As might be expected, the more jewellery worn with a folk costume, the wealthier the owner.

Although it does not occur with every version of a Latvian folk costume, a wide, rectangular woolen shawl is an important part of many female outfits. The Latvian word for this type of shawl is Villaine; this comes from the word villa or vilna which means "wool". The overwhelming majority of Villaines are woven from white wool, and may have elaborate embroidery, fringes, and or metal adornments sewn onto them.

The embroidered patterns may originally have been intended as "enchantments" to protect the wearer from harm.


On villaine is the Latvian embroidery patterns - Austras Koks.

Austra Tree or the Tree of the Sun is a generalized model of human knowledge and understanding.

Specialist in ornaments Daina Krauke explains: "For this purpose, a symbol expressed understanding of the human world: wooden roots symbolize the underworld, the trunk - the middle world - the middle of where we are with the animals and plants, and the foliage symbolizes the upper world - the world of the sky, to which all aspire. In this tree are combined understandings of the past, present and future, about our ancestors, about ourselves, about our children. The tree is the communication with the spiritual, not just communication, but also a manifestation of spirituality".

The symbol of the world tree is also associated with the solar road, it is the personification of the sunrise and sunset.

austra tree

In its simplest form, a sign reminds a new twig begins to grow, but in the most luxurious of derivative sign is as rich as its explanation. Often Tree Austria enriched with the Sun, Moon or elements Ausekla sign, the sign of Mara.

Especially luxury usually made a central part of the sign, that is, our life.

Solar tree as an ornament is used in women's clothing - woolen fabrics in shirts, in wreaths. Maybe this is an indication that it is women who have to be the creator of beauty and the custodian of values. ( latv.)

Rihards Zariņš, as an artist and a good graphic designer, always stands out the most beautiful parts of the image, certainly showing a little of his imagination.

It is the classic style of drawing. Designer painted a number of different volumes, lines, tried to use a combination of dark-light subjects, so that they contrast well passed together.

Latvian coat of arms is centered.

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)

In the background are the inscriptions: "10 LATU" and five-pointed stars.

The inscription at the bottom: "Par zimju viltosanu viltoto zimju uzglabasanu un izplatisanu vainigie sodami pec attiecigiem sodu likumiem" or in English "For forgery, as well as storage and distribution of counterfeit banknotes, the perpetrators are punished in accordance with applicable law".

The denominations are 6 times in numerals.


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.

Please, read here.

Milda Milda Milda Milda Milda Milda

In my collection I also have the coins with native girl image - Milda (Zelma Brauere).

Designer: Rihards Zariņš.

Rihards Zariņš

Rihards Zariņš (also Richards Zarriņš or Richard Sarrinsch in German speaking countries; Kocēni, June 27, 1869 - Riga, April 21, 1939) was a prominent Latvian graphic artist.

He was born in Kocēni and grew up in Līgatne and later in Grīva. He pursued his studies in St. Petersburg, where he graduated in 1895 from the Stieglitz Central School for Technical Drawing. He then went on to further studies in Berlin, Munich, Vienna, where he studied lithography, and Paris, where he honed his skills in watercolour and pastels.

He returned to Russia where he was employed by the Russian Imperial Printing Office in St. Petersburg for 20 years, acting as technical director. From 1905 he was in charge of designing state papers. In 1919, he returned to newly independent Latvia where he was appointed director of the government printing house. He held that position for over 14 years and retired at the beginning of 1934. After a stroke, he lost his ability to speak; however, he continued to draw until the last day of his life.

Zariņš was one of the best-known Latvian graphic artists. His first works appeared in the early 1890s on the pages of the then-popular Latvian-language magazine, "Austrums" (The East), when he was still a student at the Stieglitz art school. He dedicated a great amount of time in the study of folk ornamentation, and under his leadership, the state publishers produced a monumental work on Latvian decorative arts.

During his career, the artist designed many stamps of the Russian Empire, Soviet Russia, Belarusian People’s Republic, and Latvia. He is an author of the very first Soviet stamps issued in 1918.

Zariņš was a prolific artist who produced many book illustrations, engravings and lithographs. His oeuvre also contains drawings, water-colour painting, and caricatures. Among his works of applied art are the design of the Latvian coat of arms as well as several designs for bank notes issued by the Printing Office, and several coins of the Latvian lats.