A motif of the seal of Riga Town Council depicting Riga's coat of arms - the city's portal with a roof between two towers, and a lion's head under the raised gates - is featured in the centre of the coin by matting the metal to different degrees. The year 1996, numeral 10 and inscription LATU (lats) are placed beneath the motif.
The hero of a Latvian legend Lielais Kristaps, with a child on his shoulder, is featured on the coin by matting the metal to different degrees. The inscriptions LIELAIS KRISTAPS (Big Kristaps) and XV GS. (15th century), each arranged in a semicircle, are placed to the left and to the right of the central motif. The inscription RIGA-800 is placed beneath the motif.
The inscriptions LATVIJAS REPUBLIKA (Republic of Latvia) and LATVIJAS BANKA (Bank of Latvia), separated by rhombic dots.
The 15th century was characterized by a constant conflict for the authority to rule.
The century-long feud between the Livonian Order and the Archbishop of Riga for the right to rule was initially suspended by the Salaspils Agreement in 1452. As the citizens of Riga were eager to gain independence from the Livonian Order, the accord was short-lived. By the end of the century both sides were embattled again. Though Riga's citizenry initially won, forcing the garrison at Riga Castle to capitulate and destroying the Livonian Order's castle, by 1491 they were forced to surrender. With Wolter von Plettenberg as the new master of the Livonian Order, the castle was reconstructed, and has remained on the bank of the Daugava until this very day.
Trade continued to flourish throughout the 15th century. Latvians, one third of the city's population, established themselves in the trades alongside German merchants and chose their patron saints. From the advent of the century, Riga's most revered saint was St. Christopher, the guardian of ferrymen and fishermen on the river Daugava. Indeed, the Latvian brotherhood of porters and stevedores commissioned painting of the saint for a chapel in St. Peter's Church.
The coin's reverse shows Lielais Kristaps, Latvia's most celebrated sculpture of St. Christopher, for centuries located on the Daugava's bank. The coin's obverse bears a likeness of a seal with Riga's coat of arms - the city's portal with a roof between two towers. Symbolically, a lion's head under the city's raised gates protects Riga's safety.