Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Something different

Yes something different for today. Not a stamp, not a cover, nothing philatelic. But a coin! I recently had the opportunity to meet with a coin collector and we discussed the similarities and the differences between collecting stamps and collecting coins. I must admit that I know nothing about collecting coins or banknotes. During the discussion a question popped into my mind: are there any topical coin collectors? It seems that yes, some numismatists do specialize their collections around one topic. But it seems that the number of topics pictured on coins is much more reduced than on stamps. As you can imagine I immediately wanted to check if there was any coin picturing a frog or a toad (I’m speaking about circulation coins, the ones that are actually used in a country, not the commemorative one that are only issued for collectors). And I found at least one.

This is a coin of one Lats issued on the 7th of June 2010. The obverse pictures the large coat of arms of Republic of Latvia.

The reverse pictures a toad.

The toad occupies an important place in Latvia's natural environment and the popular mentality alike, it is considered to help farmers and bring blessing to households.

The common toad (Bufo bufo) is one of the most common amphibians in Latvia occupying an important place in the ecosystem. For millennia it has also been a farmer's helper because it protects the harvest from bugs and snails. In the popular lore the toad is associated with luck and good fortune. The toad is also associated with fertility: in the ancient Latvian folksongs it carries the water for the beer brewing ritual; its presence helps the harvest. Like the grass snake, the toad was considered to bring blessing to cattle; therefore he who killed a toad risked to have cows go dry and the skin on his hands turn toadlike. By contrast, to circle around a toad three times guarantees good fortune.

Have you ever seen any other coins picturing frogs or toads? And what about banknotes?

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