The Bank was still a young institution when its administration began to entertain the idea of having in-house printing works, appropriately staffed and equipped to undertake the production of banknotes and securities.
The advantages would be manifold: enhanced security and protection against counterfeiting; for the Bank, greater self-reliance and responsiveness to issuing needs; for the Greek State, cost-efficient and secure printing services for its official documents; and for the country, saving on foreign exchange as production would pass to Greek hands. In the late 1930s, by which time the Bank of Greece had consolidated its position as the official bank of issue in the country and had expanded its operations, the first step was taken to put this idea into practice, with the decision to purchase a vast plot of land of 214,500 m2 in Holargos (now part of the Municipality of Halandri, Attica), for the construction of the Bank’s own printing facilities. Soon afterwards, architects K. Papadakis and A. Delendas of the Bank’s Technical Service travelled to Berlin, Geneva and Belgrade in order to study similar establishments in these cities. The designs for the building were prepared by architects K. Papadakis and D. Filippakis-Karantinos of the Bank’s Technical Service and refined by Professor Brown, Head of the Austrian Mint.
The outcome was an unadorned industrial building, comprising three wings arranged in a Π shape. Construction was completed in early 1941, but production effectively started in 1947, following extensive repair and maintenance works after years of disuse during the war. Equipped with new machinery, including offset presses, the printing works delivered its first banknote series, the brown 1,000-drachma banknote.
Further improvements in facilities and equipment were made in the next few years. Governor G. Mantzavinos, addressing the General Meeting of Shareholders in 1950, was happy to note: “Our establishment in Holargos is on a par with the mints of European issuing banks and is already capable of printing Greek banknotes of every type...”.
Kardamitsi-Adami, M. (2011), Bank of Greece - The buildings, Bank of Greece, Athens.