Back when the town was still known as Dinaburg, the first firefighters’ unit was formed out of the municipal police department in 1845. It was almost twenty years later when volunteer firefighters organized a service for the cities of Riga and Jelgava.
By the time of World War II there were more than 200 firefighting teams organized at localities throughout the nation.
The coin is intended “to honor the daily work that firefighters and now also the rescue services do for the public good,” said Central Bank spokesman Kristaps Otersons.
The graphic design for the coin was made by Henrihs Vorkals, while its plaster design author is Ligita Franckeviča. The averse side depicts the symbolic firefighters’ helmet and hatchet surrounded by a wreath of flame above two crossed oak branches. The reverse side shows a horse-drawn historic firefighters’ carriage rushing towards flames and smoke.
While the coin is perfectly valid as legal tender, its limited-edition run of just 10,000 units means that it should remain out of circulation and in the hands of collectors.
“These collectors’ coins are minted from precious silver and serve as works of art. They rarely enter circulation, people buy them as gifts, souvenirs, artworks and keepsakes,” said Otersons.
It will be available to the public from cashiers at the Bank of Latvia and souvenir shops in Riga and elsewhere around the country from May 8.