The Keys ep8 Latvian lats
In the middle of this story was March 1993, when majority of us finally held Latvian lats in our hands – not the family heirloom but real money. Quietly cherished in people’s memory for decades, the new national currency became an affirmation of the country’s regained independence. Just 20 years later, we easily exchanged it for the euro. How did the lats lose its value as a national symbol? Had it ever been one?
The lifespan of the lats was pitifully short – 18 years during the first republic plus 20 in recent times. The Soviets took lats out of circulation without prior notice. People only managed to keep the silver 5 lats coins. They were safeguarded as a family heirloom – a romanticized memory of the lost Latvia. Many Latvian families have stories upon stories to tell about gifted and inherited silver lats, and their transformation into Namejs rings and brooches with the maiden image from the 5 lats coins.