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Sunday, 5 March 2017

456) 5 Euro Silver-Perculor coin titled “The Earth” issued by Bank of Latvia on 22.12.2016:

About the theme of the Coin:

Human beings have always curious about the Planet earth they live on and have tried to understand and explain their surroundings and the world they live in. The shape and structure of the Earth has been portrayed from the view-point of each century.

The uninformed “beliefs”:

In ancient times, the idea predominated that the Earth was flat, with its disc supported by four elephants or three whales, which in turn, stood on the back of a huge turtle. The role of a support or mover was also entrusted to a gigantic snake or a dragon.

The ancient Chinese were certain that the Earth was a rectangle with a semi-spherical dome of the sky from which silver stars were hung.

Great advances made in Greek and Indian astronomy while the rest of the world had these “fancy notions” about the Earth:

The ancient Greek philosopher Aristarchus of Samos (310-230 BC) came to the conclusion that the Earth revolved around the Sun. He developed a heliocentric system, albeit the inability to provide mathematical proof meant that heliocentrism simply remained an assumption.

Anaximander (610-546 BC) treated the earth as a part of the Universe, while Pythagoras (580-500 BC) was the first European to propose the idea that the Earth was round.

Around 2000 BC to 500 AD Indian astronomy as mentioned in the Vedas (ancient Indian texts) had developed immensely and resulted into original findings like:

The calculation of occurrences of eclipses, determination of the Earth’s circumference, theorising about the force of gravity and determining that the sun was a star and determining the number of planets in our solar system.

Yajnavalkya (around 1800 BC) described the motions of the Sun and the Moon in his book “Shatapatha Brahmana and advanced a 95 year cycle to synchronise the motions of the Sun and the Moon.

Aryabhata (500 AD), the Indian Mathematician and Astronomer, presented a mathematical system that took the Earth to spin on its axis and considered the motions of the planets with respect to the Sun (a heliocentric model). His treatise the “Aryabhatya” presented astronomical and mathematical theories in which the Earth was taken to be spinning on its axis and the periods of the planets were given with respect to the sun. Aryabhata wrote that 1,582,237,500 rotations of the Earth equal 57,753,336 lunar orbits. This is an extremely accurate ratio of a fundamental astronomical ratio (1,582,237,500/57,753,336 = 27.3964693572) and is perhaps the oldest astronomical constant calculated to such accuracy.

In honour of this great Mathematician and Astronomer, India’s first Space satellite which was launched on 19.04.1975, was named “Aryabhatta”.

Brahmagupta (598-668 AD), the head of the Astronomical Observatory at Ujjain, India, wrote a treatise on Astronomy titled the “Brahmasphutasiddhanta” (meaning “The Principles of the Universe” or “The Principles on which the Universe is created/functions/operates”) in 628 AD.

Bhaskara (1114 -1185 AD), the then head of the Astronomical Observatory at Ujjain continuing the mathematical tradition of Brahmagupta, wrote the “Siddhantasiromani” (meaning the “Standard or Established Principles”) which consisted of two parts: “Goladhyay” (meaning the “Study of the round spheres” and “Grahaganit” (meaning, the “Mathematics of the Planets”).

Yet, the so-called “civilised world” stuck to its guns and ignored the serious works of these great scientists and mathematicians who had propounded these theories/calculations several centuries ago.

Several centuries later, the Europeans take credit for “path-breaking discoveries”:

 In 1230, Johannes de Sacrobosco (1195-1256) revived the presumption of the spherical form of the Earth in his treatise “Sphaera”. This point was borne out by the “discoveries” of Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) and Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521) who also brought home the observation that the Earth was “much larger than once thought”.

The Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) concluded that the Sun was at the centre of the Universe, and the Italian scientist Galileo Galilei (1864-1642) showed that all the solar system planets revolved around the Sun.  

Later, Isaac Newton (1643-1727) put forth the Universal Law of Gravitation in 1682.

In 1959, a picture of the Earth taken by NASA satellite Explorer 6 for the first time and in 1961, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin (1934-1968) saw the planet Earth first hand from outer space.

The Earth:

The Earth is the third largest planet in the solar system, counting from the centre and the fifth largest and densest planet in this system.

It takes 365 days and 6 hours for the Earth to rotate around the sun. The Earth formed about 4.54 billion years ago from a concretion of a cloud of cosmic dust. With its magnetic field and the atmosphere that protect against solar radiation and smaller meteorites, the Earth is unique in its own way. It is the only known planet on which there is water found in liquid form. A special coincidence of necessary conditions has given rise to the creation of life on Earth. This has led to the multiplication of life, including Homo sapiens and millions of other living beings.

The Earth which is a tiny speck of dust in the Universe, is home to about 7.5 billion people who enjoy its blue sky and green fields, forests, mountains, rivers, lakes and seas, glaciers , deserts and volcanoes – its heavenly peace and ravaging storms.

The innovative coin:

The symbolic Earth at the centre of this coin titled – “The Earth” – which points to its place in human values and its existential integrity. The “jewel-like Earth” is enclosed by a transparent two-sided diaphanous veil of perculor (an extremely innovative ceramic material with extraordinary mechanical, chemical and thermal resistance and excellent optical properties. It is used in laser, military and medical equipment engineering, optical applications et al), which represents the Universe, where planet Earth is floating as an “Island of Life”.

The Obverse of the 5 Euro coin shows a ring of perculor, enclosed by a silver outer ring, with a silver curved image of the earth featuring a geo-physical map of the world in a colour print at the centre. The silver outer ring bears the inscriptions “5 EURO” and “LATVIJA” (the name of the issuing country “LATVIA”) on the top and bottom peripheries respectively.

The Reverse of the 5 Euro Coin shows a ring of perculor, enclosed by a silver outer ring, with a silver curved image of the earth featuring a geo-physical map of the world in a colour print at the centre. The silver outer ring bears the inscription “ZEME” (meaning “Earth”) and the year 2016 at the top and bottom peripheries respectively.

This coin was designed by M. Kalnins whose original idea of presenting a translucent coin was the top winner at the Latvian Bank’s competition of innovative Euro coins held in 2015.

The specifications of this coin are:

Denominational value: 5 Euros; Weight: 20.0 grams (14.0 grams silver); Diameter: 40.0 mm (width of outer ring: 4.0 mm; width of perculor ring: 12.0 mm; diameter of Earth’s image: 8.0 mm); Metal Composition: .925 silver; Coin Quality: Proof; Mintage limit: 5,000; Mint: UAB Lietuvos monety kalykla (Lithuania). Year of issue 2016; Graphic designer: Marcis Kalnins.


  1. Arun Mehta has commented:
    "Looks unlike any coin seen before...Really stunning..."

    1. It does indeed. A new technology and a new material - Perculor - has been used for the first time on a coin.

  2. Vishnu Chandra Bajpai has commented:
    "Looks like a coin from another planet. The information about Indian mathematicians was also interesting. Incidentally, My wife,Dr Priti Bajpai takes classes on Vedic Maths in BITS Pilani Dubai Campus .Good Research. PL keep it up."

    1. Thank you so much , Sir for the encouraging comment, as always.

    2. Wow! Teaching Vedic Maths is really something. It is is like reconnecting with the great sages & Mathematicians and the learning of ancient India. I was always interested in Vedic Maths, but never got beyond the accounting procedures in the Bank.

  3. Ramchandra Lalingkar has commented:
    "Rajeev, very much interesting information about the 'Earth' and it's position in the 'Universe'. As also the 'coin' issued by 'latvia' is having very rare properties. If possible, please include both sides of the coin."

    1. Thank you so much, Lalingkar sahab. Both the sides of the coin are displayed in this image, although they look alike. The obverse face is showing the Continent of Africa, while the Reverse face is showing North & South Americas. I was trying for two days to get an image of this coin where the coin itself rotates on its axis, presenting a breath-taking view of the Earth, but I could not succeed in doing so. Perhaps, i did not have the requisite software, but I am still trying for it.