Drachma coins

Background

1930

Silver 10- and 20-drachma coins and nickel 5-drachma coins minted in 1930 were issued by virtue of the Decree of 7 December 1930.

The 20-drachma coin is a replica of a Macedonian tetradrachm issued by King Antigonos Doson (227-221 B.C.). The 10-drachma coin depicts the head of Demeter, from a rare stater of the Amphictyonic League (336-334 BC), and an ear of wheat from a stater of Metapontum, a Greek colony in South Italy (4th century BC). Both were minted at the British Royal Mint. The 5-drachma coin is an exception: it departs from the theme of the series and recalls Kapodistrias' coins.

These coins were designed by Percy Metcalfe, Langford Jones, Kruger Gray and Michael Axelos.

1947

King Paul was enthroned in 1947. In 1953, the exchange rate of the post-war drachma, corresponding to 50 billion occupation drachmas, was 30,000 drachmas/US dollar. In 1954, the last three zeros were struck off and a new drachma equalled 1,000 old drachmas, while one dollar equalled 30 new drachmas.

1954

Till the end of King Paul's reign in 1964, various coins were minted, designed by the Greek engraver V. Falireas.

The first coins minted in 1954 in Paris after World War II were 5-, 2- and 1-drachma and 50-lepta coins. They all depict a portrait of King Paul on the obverse and the royal coat of arms on the reverse. In the same year, 20-, 10- and 5-lepta coins were minted in Berne.

1959

A 10-drachma coin was minted in Berne.

1960

A silver 20-drachma coin, depicting the goddess Selene, was minted in London.

1963

A silver 30-drachma commemorative circulation coin was minted in Paris, to celebrate the Centenary of the Greek royal dynasty. It depicted the portraits of the five kings since 1863 in a circle and is quite interesting because the portrait of King Alexander (1917-1920) is depicted for the first time on a coin.

1964

After King Constantine II was enthroned, the same type of coins as those of King Paul was minted. They were designed by V. Falireas and depicted the king's portrait on the obverse and the royal coat of arms on the reverse until 1971, when the royal coat of arms was replaced by the emblem of the junta that had taken over on 21 April 1967. In 1964, a commemorative silver 30-drachma circulation coin was minted on the occasion of the wedding of King Constantine II to Princess Anna-Maria of Denmark. It was the first time that the portrait of a queen was depicted on a coin.

1970

Commemorative silver 50- and 100-drachma and gold 20- and 100-drachma coins were minted in 1970 to celebrate the 21st of April 1967 coup.

1971

The Coin Printing Section of IETA started operations in 1971. The first series of coins depicted the head of King Constantine II and the emblem of the junta.

1973

A new series was put into circulation in 1973: 10- and 20-lepta aluminium coins and 50-lepta, 1-, 2-, 5-, 10- and 20-drachma cupronickel coins. The 20-drachma coin depicted Selene on horseback emerging from the sea. In 1973, with the abolition of monarchy, a new series of 10- and 20-lepta aluminium coins, 50-lepta and 1- and 2-drachma bronze coins and 5-, 10- and 20-drachma cupronickel coins were put into circulation. They depicted the emblem of the junta on the obverse and a decorative palmette, an owl, Pegasus and the head of Athena of Piraeus on the reverse. These coins were designed by V. Falireas, I. Stinis, N. Perantinos, E. Kelaidis and L. Orphanos.

1976

New coins were issued after the fall of the junta in 1974: 10-lepta coins (raging bull, after a coin of Thourii (ancient Greek colony in South Italy), 20-lepta coins (bust of a horse), 50-lepta coins (Markos Botsaris), 1-drachma coins (Konstantinos Kanaris and a corvette), 2-drachma coins (Georgios Karaiskakis), 5-drachma coins (Aristotle), 10-drachma coins (Demokritos) and 20-drachma coins (Pericles). They all depict the national coat of arms of the Hellenic Republic.

1980

A 50-drachma coin depicting the head of Solon was minted. The mintmark of the Greek Mint, a palmette, appears for the first time and features on all coins ever since.

1986

A 50-drachma coin is minted depicting the head of Homer on the obverse and an ancient Greek ship of Homer's time on the reverse. It won first prize in an international competition in the United States in 1988.

1986

New copper 1- and 2-drachma coins are issued depicting Bouboulina and Manto Mavrogenous, respectively.

1990

A 100-drachma coin is issued for the first time (head of Alexander the Great and the sunburst of Vergina) and the 20-drachma coin (head of Pericles) was replaced by a smaller one (head of Dionysios Solomos). Thus, the coin series minted between 1976 and 1990 changed year of issue every two years until 2000, which was the last year of drachma issue. These series were designed by artists Th. Papagiannis, N. Perantinos, K. Kazakos, V. Sabatakos, L. Orphanos, N. Nikolaou and P. Sotiriou.

2000

Six 500-drachma circulation coins were issued in 2000 ahead of the 2004 Olympic Games. Their themes were: the entrance to the stadium in ancient Olympia, the Olympic victor Diagoras, Dimitrios Vikelas and Pierre de Coubertin, the Olympic victor Spyros Louis, the lighting of the Olympic flame and the Olympic Medal. On the common side they depict the logo of the "Athens 2004" Olympic Games Organising Committee. These coins were designed by P. Gravalos, Th. Papagiannis, K. Kazakos and G. Stamatopoulos.

Commemorative coins

Moreover, IETA issued the following commemorative circulation coins:

  • 1994: two 50-drachma coins of the Hellenic Parliament honouring the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the first Greek Constitution (Dimitrios Kallergis and Ioannis Makrygiannis).
  • 1997: 100-drachma coin dedicated to the 6th IAAF World Track & Field Championship.
  • 1998: 100-drachma coin dedicated to the 13th FIBA World Championship.
  • 1998: two 50-drachma coins to celebrate the Rigas Feraios year and the Dionysios Solomos year.
  • 1999: two 100-drachma coins, one dedicated to the 45th World Grecoroman Wrestling Championship and one to the 70th Men’s & 13th Women’s World Weightlifting Championship.

These coins were designed by V. Sabatakos, N. Nikolaou, M. Antonatou, G. Stamatopoulos and A. Michelioudaki.

The period during which the Bank of Greece and the tax offices exchanged drachma coins for euro ended on 1 March 2004.

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