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Latvian lats

Latvian lats
Latvijas lats (in Latvian)
1Lats salmon.png
The standard version of the 1 lats coin bore a salmon
ISO 4217
Plurallati (nom. pl.) or latu (gen. pl.)
 santīmssantīmi (nom. pl.) or santīmu (gen. pl.)
SymbolLs (before numerals)
 santīmss (after numerals)
 Freq. used5, 10, 20, 50, 100 latu[citation needed]
 Rarely used500 latu
 Freq. used10, 20, 50 santīmu, 1, 2 lati
 Rarely used1, 2, 5 santīmu[citation needed]
User(s)None, previously:
Central bankBank of Latvia
 SourceECB,[2] April 2013
 Since2 May 2005[1]
 Fixed rate since1 January 2005
 Replaced by €, cash1 January 2014[3]
=Ls 0.702804 (Irrevocable)
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.

The lats (plural: lati (2–9) latu (10 and more)), ISO 4217 currency code: LVL or 428) was the currency of Latvia from 1922 until it was replaced by the euro on 1 January 2014. A two-week transition period during which the lats was in circulation alongside the euro ended on 14 January 2014.[3] It is abbreviated as Ls and was subdivided into 100 santīmi (singular: santīms; from French centime).

First lats, 1922–1940

The 5 lati coin, used before World War II, became a popular symbol of independence during the Soviet era. The coin was designed by Rihards Zariņš.
20 latu banknote issued 1935 (obverse).

The lats was first introduced on 3 August 1922, replacing the Latvian rublis at a rate of 1 lats = 50 rubļi.[4] The lats was pegged against the gold standard from its introduction till 1940. [5]

On 17 June 1940, Latvia was occupied by the USSR. After the dismantling of the Bank of Latvia and its replacement with the Latvia Republican Office of the Gosbank on 10 October, the Soviet ruble was introduced alongside the lats on 25 November 1940 at par, although the real monetary value of the rouble was about three times lower and thus both wages and prices were gradually raised to devalue the lats from June to November 1940. To lessen the effect of the exodus of goods sent by Soviet occupational personnel to the USSR, taking advantage of the new exchange rate, buyer limits for various goods were introduced. [6]

Although the Soviet authorities initially pledged not to abolish the lats, it was taken out of circulation without prior warning at 13:05 on 25 March 1941, simultaneously nationalising all deposits larger than 1000 lats. A part of the Latvian gold, silver and currency reserves were sent to Moscow at the start of the occupation.[7][8]


Coins were issued in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 santīmu, 1, 2 and 5 lati. The 1, 2 and 5 santīmu were in bronze (Cu,Sn,Zn), the 10, 20 and 50 santīmu were nickel, while coins of 1 lats and above were in silver, with a purity of 83,5 percent.[9]


The Latvian Bank issued notes from 1922 in denominations of 20, 25, 50, 100 and 500 latu. They also issued 10 latu notes which were 500 rubli notes overprinted with the new denomination. The government issued currency notes from 1925 in denominations of 5, 10 and 20 latu.

Second lats, 1993–2013

The lats was reintroduced on 5 March 1993,[10] replacing the Latvian rublis, which continued to circulate and kept validity until and including 30 June 1994[11] at a rate of 200 rubļu being equivalent to 1 lats. The 5 lats banknote was introduced at first, and the last banknote to be introduced was the 500 lats banknote on 20 July 1998.[12] The lats was replaced on 1 January 2014 by the Euro, at the rate of 0.702804 Lats to 1 Euro. The second lats can be exchanged to euros at the official rate at the Bank of Latvia's cashier's office in Riga.[13]


Coins were issued in denominations of 1 santīms, 2 and 5 santīmi, 10, 20 and 50 santīmu, 1 lats and 2 lati. Besides standard coins in the list below and coins for collectors, there were a number of coins that were issued only once and were rarely found in circulation: three commemorative circulation coins in denominations of 2, 10 and 100 latu (the later two of which were, respectively, silver and gold), a 100 lats gold bullion coin, a standard issue 2 lats coin that was gradually taken out of circulation starting from 1999 due to safety issues[14] and a series of limited design 1 lats coins that were issued twice a year from 2004 to 2013, and once in 2001 and 2003. The standard coins were designed by Gunārs Lūsis and Jānis Strupulis.

Current standard series
Image Value Value Composition Diameter Weight Edge Issued Description
1santims 2005.png 1 santīms €0.014 copper-clad iron 15.65 mm 1.60 g Smooth 1992, 1997, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008 Obverse: The small coat of arms of Latvia, inscription LATVIJAS REPUBLIKA and the date of issue.
Reverse: denomination, ethnographic sun ornaments joined by five arches symbolizing a day of work.
2santimi 2006.png 2 santīmi €0.028 copper-clad iron 17.00 mm 1.90 g Smooth 1992, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2009
5santimi 2006.png 5 santīmi €0.071 copper / nickel / zinc alloy 18.50 mm 2.50 g Smooth 1992, 2006, 2007, 2009
10santimu 1992.png 10 santīmu €0.142 copper / nickel / zinc alloy 19.90 mm 3.25 g Smooth 1992, 2008
20santimu 1992.png 20 santīmu €0.285 copper / nickel / zinc alloy 21.50 mm 4.00 g Smooth 1992, 2007, 2009
50santimu 1992.png 50 santīmu €0.711 copper / nickel alloy 18.80 mm 3.50 g Reeded 1992, 2007, 2009 Obverse: The small coat of arms of Latvia, inscription LATVIJAS REPUBLIKA and the date of issue.
Reverse: pine sapling, which symbolizes Latvian forests and denomination, separated by a horizontal line.
Edge: reeded.
1Lats salmon.png 1 lats €1.423 copper / nickel alloy 21.75 mm 4.80 g Plain and lettering: LATVIJAS BANKA ♦ LATVIJAS BANKA ♦ 1992, 2007, 2008 Obverse: The large coat of arms of Latvia, inscription LATVIJAS REPUBLIKA and the date of issue.
Reverse: leaping salmon, which symbolizes the waters of Latvia, and denomination.
2Lati 1999.png 2 lati €2.846 Inner: copper / nickel / zinc alloy
Outer: copper / nickel alloy
26.30 mm
(inner: 18.21 mm)
9.50 g
(inner: 4.50 g, ring: 5.00 g)
Reeded and lettering: LATVIJAS BANKA ♦ LATVIJAS BANKA ♦ 1999, 2003, 2009 Obverse: The large coat of arms of Latvia, and on the ring inscription LATVIJAS REPUBLIKA and the date of issue.
Reverse: A cow, which symbolizes Latvian countryside, and denomination.
Relative size of coins

1santims 2005.png 2santimi 2006.png 5santimi 2006.png 10santimu 1992.png 20santimu 1992.png 50santimu 1992.png 1Lats salmon.png 2Lati 1999.png


All banknotes are 130 × 65 mm in size. They were printed by Giesecke & Devrient GmbH in Germany and were designed by Imants Žodžiks and Valdis Ošiņš.[15]

Current Series
Image Value Value (€) Main Colour Description
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
Latvia-2007-Bill-5-Obverse.jpg Latvia-2007-Bill-5-Reverse.jpg 5 lati €7.11 Green Oak tree Woodcarving – sun on a distaff
Latvia-2008-Bill-10-Obverse.jpg Latvia-2008-Bill-10-Reverse.jpg 10 latu €14.23 Purple River Daugava Sakta (Latvian brooch)
Latvia-2007-Bill-20-Obverse.jpg Latvia-2007-Bill-20-Reverse.jpg 20 latu €28.46 Brown Traditional house Woven linen
Latvia-1992-Bill-50-Obverse.jpg Latvia-1992-Bill-50-Reverse.jpg 50 latu €71.14 Blue Sailing-ship Keys (Historical seal of Riga)
Latvia-1992-Bill-100-Obverse.jpg Latvia-1992-Bill-100-Reverse.jpg 100 latu €142.29 Red Krišjānis Barons Belt of Lielvārde (Lielvārdes josta)
Latvia-1992-Bill-500-Obverse.jpg Latvia-1992-Bill-500-Reverse.jpg 500 latu €711.44 Grey Latvian folk-maid Ornamental brass crowns

The lats was the fourth-highest-valued currency unit after the Kuwaiti dinar, Bahraini dinar, and the Omani rial at the end of its circulation. The 500 latu note was the world's third most valuable banknote after the $10,000 Singapore note and the 1,000 Swiss franc note.[16][17]

See also


  1. ^ "ECB: Euro central rates and compulsory intervention rates in ERM II". Retrieved 2014-06-09.
  2. ^ "ECB: Inflation and the euro". Retrieved 2014-06-09.
  3. ^ a b Eglitis, Aaron (2013-07-09). "Latvia Wins Final EU Approval to Adopt Euro on Jan. 1 Next Year". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
  4. ^ Kristīne Ducmane, Anda Ozoliņa (2013). Naudas Laiki Latvijā (in Latvian). Lauku Avīze. p. 147. ISBN 978-9984-878-84-3.
  5. ^ Lucas, Edward (2013-11-18). "Lat it be". The Economist. Retrieved 2018-07-08.
  6. ^ "Sava nauda savā Latvijas Bankā IV - LV portāls" (in Latvian). Retrieved 2018-07-08.
  7. ^ "History of money in Latvia". Retrieved 2018-07-08.
  8. ^ "History of the Bank of Latvia". Retrieved 2018-07-08.
  9. ^ Kristīne Ducmane, Anda Ozoliņa (2013). Naudas Laiki Latvijā (in Latvian). Lauku Avīze. p. 163. ISBN 978-9984-878-84-3.
  10. ^ Ēvalds Vēciņš, Dzintars Rubenis, Gunārs Rolands Grīns (2002). Nauda Latvijā XX gadsimtā : Katalogs I daļa 2. sējums (in Latvian). Riga: Zvaigzne. p. 79. ISBN 9984223450. OCLC 45699853.
  11. ^ Ēvalds Vēciņš, Dzintars Rubenis, Gunārs Rolands Grīns (2002). Nauda Latvijā XX gadsimtā : Katalogs I daļa 2. sējums (in Latvian). Riga: Zvaigzne. p. 81. ISBN 9984223450. OCLC 45699853.
  12. ^ Ēvalds Vēciņš, Dzintars Rubenis, Gunārs Rolands Grīns (2002). Nauda Latvijā XX gadsimtā : Katalogs I daļa 2. sējums (in Latvian). Riga: Zvaigzne. p. 61. ISBN 9984223450. OCLC 45699853.
  13. ^ "The Cashier's Office of Latvijas Banka". Bank of Latvia. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  14. ^ Divlatniekus ar govs attēlu vairs nedod apgrozībā
  15. ^ "Banknotes of the Bank of Latvia". Bank of Latvia. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  16. ^ TheRichest. "Most Valuable Currencies In The Word - Highest-valued Currencies". TheRichest. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
  17. ^ Karaian, Jason (2013-12-31). "One of the most valuable banknotes in the world is about to vanish – Quartz". Retrieved 2014-06-09.

External links