Numismatic Programme 2024

Numismatic Programme 2024


Every coin has a small story to tell, whether fact or fiction. As the Greeks effectively invented coinage and, at the same time, have been master storytellers throughout their history, it is only natural that storytelling is the keystone of our 2024 Numismatic Programme.

Perhaps the best-known storyteller of antiquity was the slave Aesop. His popular animal fables are the theme of a new series we are launching this year, starting with The Hare and the Tortoise. Greek myth, the ultimate wellspring of imaginative storytelling, is represented by the coin dedicated to Hephaestus, the gods’ master craftsman and a subject of many entertaining tales. And it is the Greeks’ first and foremost poet and storyteller, Homer, that provides in the Odyssey the earliest mention of the Mediterranean monk seal, which features on the first coin in our new series dedicated to the Endangered fauna of Greece. The long Greek tradition in storytelling had a worthy descendant in the early 20th century in Penelope Delta, a pioneer of children’s literature. Her books have raised generations of Greek children and are still popular with young and old alike. Finally, Aesop’s subversive criticism of power survives in the spirit of Karagiozis, the leading character of traditional Greek shadow play, here represented by the master of the genre, Evgenios Spatharis.

Turning to our long-standing series, we continue to commemorate bicentenaries of dramatic events that took place in the 1820s, the decade when the Greeks fought for and won their independence. This year’s coins are dedicated to the Battle of Samos, the Destruction of Kassos and the French philhellene Charles Fabvier. The next theme in our Tourism series is the Unesco World Heritage site of Olympia, venue of the ancient Olympic Games, while our Cultural heritage is represented by the – also Unesco-listed – Temple of Apollo Epikourios, one of the boldest monuments of 5th-century classical architecture, attributed to the architect of the Parthenon, Iktinos. We are continuing our Greek mathematicians series with Thales, the archetypal philosopher and thinker. In our Ancient Greek technology series, we meet another legendary mathematician, Archimedes, here represented by one of his most famous and versatile inventions, Archimedes’ screw, still in use today.

Fast forward to our recent past, 2024 is an important year as it marks 50 years from the restoration of democracy in Greece, to which a commemorative €2 coin is dedicated. Turning to sport, we commemorate two immense Greek successes, celebrating 20 years from the Athens 2004 Olympics and Paralympics and 20 years from Greece’s win of Euro 2004. As for international anniversaries, we are honouring the 150 years of the Universal Postal Union, the second oldest international organisation, whose role becomes all the more relevant in the time of globalisation.

History and myth, popular and high literature, science and culture, folk art, sport and the environment, all find their place in these small works of art, which tell stories that both enlighten and entertain, while gratifying the collector with the high artistry that is a hallmark of the Greek Mint’s products.