Latvia Veksels [Promissory Notes]

Background - Latvian currencies

On 1918 November 18 Latvia declared independence. At this time there was no Latvian currency. The government announced exchange rates for three currencies in use:
   1 Russian imperial ruble = 0.80 Ostrubel = 1.25 Kerenski rubles.
The subsequent Latvian independence bonds of 1918 December 23 used this exchange rate, but excluded exchange for Kerenski 10 or 40 ruble notes.

There were Russian imperial rubles because Latvia was part of Czarist Russia before World War I. There were Ostrubels from the German occupation in World War I, which began in June of 1915, and included Riga in September of 1917. There were Kerenski rubles from the republic that ruled Russia after Czar Nicholas II abdicated in March of 1917. Although the Kerenski government lost power in November of 1917, in the Russian revolution, its currency remained valid in Latvia until late 1919.

On 1919 March 22 Latvia established its first currency:
   1 Latvian ruble = 100 Latvian kopeks.
On 1920 March 13 the Latvian ruble became Latvia's only valid currency.

In July of 1921 Latvia established a Gold Frank = 0.2903226 grams of gold [can someone explain this odd amount?]. The exchange rate of Latvian rubles to Gold Frank varied. In August of 1922 the government established the fixed exchange rate:
   1 Gold Frank = 100 sants = 50 Latvian rubles
It very shortly afterward replaced the Gold Frank with the Lat, so
   1 Lat = 100 sants = 50 Latvian rubles.

The Frank and santim currency were derived from the French system. Latvia issued no banknotes or postal stamps in Gold Franks. It did issue revenue stamps in Franks and promissory notes [veksels] in gold Lats. The Lats and santims currency continued in use until 1940, when the Soviet Union occupied Latvia.

Ruble issue veksels

We believe the Latvian government initially issued promissory notes [veksels] in rubles because we have examples with overprints that replace the ruble currency with gold Lats, "zelta latiem", currency.

Veksels in rubles [known overprinted in gold Lats]
# Amount tax fee for
tax % watermark
R1 2,000 rub. 10 rub. 2 rub. 12 rub. 0.5 honeycomb
R2 3,000 rub. 15 rub. 2 rub. 17 rub. 0.5 wavy lines
R3 4,000 rub. 20 rub. 2 rub. 22 rub. 0.5 wavy lines
R4 5,000 rub. 25 rub. 2 rub. 27 rub. 0.5 wavy lines
R5 10,000 rub. 50 rub. 2 rub. 52 rub. 0.5 wavy lines
R6 20,000 rub. 100 rub. 2 rub. 102 rub. 0.5 wavy lines

There may have been additional values.

Gold Lats issue veksels

Overprint 100 Gold Lats [100 zelta latiem] in red on 2000 rub.
Overprint 20 sant. tax + 10 sant. paper, total 30 sant,
      on 10 rub. tax + 2 rub. paper, total 12 rub.
Issued 5 May 1925, due 5 November 1925; Amount: Ls 100 [100 Lats]
Watermark: honeycombs; Size: 28.65 x 14.4 cm;
scan: 72 dpi; right edge not shown

All known examples of veksels in Gold Lats are overprinted on Latvian rubles. The violet text in the example above is probably from a rubber stamp, to avoid the need to manually write this text. It appears that some rubber stamps were used, and some were written by hand.

The embossed seal on the top of these veksels appears upside-down, with the three stars beneath the suns rays. These images at 96dpi.

Veksels in zelta latiem / Gold Lats [overprinted on rubles]
# Amount tax paper total tax % watermark seen
ZL1 100 20 sant. 10 sant. 30 sant. 0.5% honeycomb 1925
  overprint in red-orange on R1 (2,000 rub.)
ZL2 200 40 sant. 10 sant. 50 sant. 0.5% wavy lines 1925
  overprint in red-orange on R2 (3,000 rub.)
ZL3 300 60 sant. 10 sant. 70 sant. 0.5% wavy lines 1927
  overprint in red-orange on R3 (4,000 rub.)
ZL3a 300 60 sant. 10 sant. 70 sant. 0.5% wavy lines 1925,27
  overprint in red-orange on R4 (5,000 rub.)
ZL4 400 80 sant. 10 sant. 90 sant. 0.5% wavy lines 1927
  overprint in red-orange on R5 (10,000 rub.)
ZL4a 400 80 sant. 10 sant. 90 sant.   wavy lines 1927
  overprint in red-orange on R6 (20,000 rub.)

Lats issue [print direction: bottom to top]

28.5 x 14.4 cm; 72dpi; jpg @ 70%; right edge not shown
an overprint on an overprint on an overprint; unused.

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Created 2001 March 11.
Updated Monday, 2002-09-30 .