The permanent exhibition of the Banknote Museum of Ionian Bank in Corfu showcases the 504 banknotes issued in Greece. The exhibition also includes the interactive digital exhibition of 70 Greek metal coins. Visitors may draw information on the history of the coin, the banks with privilege of issue in Greece and how Asia Minor Catastrophe led to cutting banknotes in half.
With 1830, the year the modern Greek State was founded, as the starting point, the exhibition showcases all the coins issued in Greece, in the form of a timeline. The presentation is based on the principle that the numismatic circulation of a State is directly linked to its history. It focuses on historical facts and the conditions that led the relevant authorities to issue coins and banknotes.
First stop is 1822, the year the provisional Greek government issued revolutionary bonds in piastres. Visitors move on to the phoenix issued by Ioannis Kapodistrias in 1831. The exhibition concludes with the last banknotes in drachmas, which were taken out of circulation with the introduction of the euro in 2002.
The exhibition spans 2 floors.
Room A presents introductory themes such as:
At the same time, visitors get a first glimpse of the terminology used in the exhibition, such as: banknote, coin note, privilege of issue, issuing bank etc.
Next in line are the bonds in piastres issued by the provisional Greek government from 1821 to 1828, the years of the Greek Revolution.
Visitors may then admire Kapodistrias’ metal and paper phoenixes and Otto’s 1st drachma, as well as the history of the National Bank of Greece, which exercised its privilege and issued the first ever banknote to circulate in Greece.
Before moving on to the next room, visitors learn about the period of King George Ι. When he ascended the throne in 1864, the Ionian islands were ceded to Greece.
Room B presents the history and numismatic publications of banks that had a privilege of issue equivalent to that of the National Bank, but for different geographical areas.
The same room houses the history of the Latin Monetary Union, the first coin notes and the currency circulation from WWI through to 1927. The cases displaying Ionian Bank’s printing plates dominate the room.
In room C, visitors travel back to the Asia Minor Catastrophe and the challenging times that followed, which led to bisected banknotes. The exhibition then focuses on the Bank of Greece, which was founded in 1928 and has since held the exclusive right to issue banknotes. After a special account of WWII, the occupation years and hyperinflation, visitors move on to the next room.
Room D displays the notes issued by occupational forces (1941-1944), those issued after the liberation following local initiatives, the post-war period and the efforts to stabilise the economy.
Next comes the period from 1955 to 1957, with banknotes that implied monetary stability, followed by Greece joining the EEC.
The timeline of the history of Greek currency ends with the complete series of banknotes issued by the Bank of Greece, before the euro was introduced. The euro was put into circulation on 1 January 2002 and irrevocably replaced the drachma on 1 March of the same year.
Before moving on to the next floor, visitors may see all the last national banknotes issued by countries that now use the euro.
The 2nd floor is dedicated to Coin-o-rama, an interactive exhibit created by the Alpha Bank Numismatic Collection together with the Institute of Computer Science of the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas, the premier research centre in Greece.
This multimedia application offers visitors an upgraded tour experience. It presents the digital exhibition “The Coins of the modern Greek State (1828-Nowadays)”. Visitors enjoy a panorama of the metal coins issued by the Greek State from 1828 to the present day, including phoenixes, drachmas and euros.
The application also allows visitors to discover the entire numismatic history of modern Greece. They simply select the period they wish to visit from the list displayed on the main screen. Visitors may digitally get to know metal coins, read briefly about their history, see enlarged images and get detailed information on all of them.
Coin-o-rama has a “Make your Own Coin” application. Visitors can put their own portrait on a coin and receive a unique memento of their visit. After selecting the texture of the coin (gold, silver or copper), they pose for a photo taken with a digital camera against the background of their choice. This way they create a coin with their own face, which they can send to their email.
The exhibition on the 1st floor has 504 banknotes and currency notes on display, issued in Greece. On the 2nd floor, Coin-o-rama digitally presents 70 Greek metal coins.
Exhibition curator: Dr Dimitra Tsangari, numismatist and curator of the Alpha Bank Numismatic Collection.
Artistic design: Stamatis Zannos.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue entitled Greek Banknotes. Historical Evidence, authored by Dr Dimitra Tsangari. The publication is available in 5 languages: Greek, English, French, German and Russian.
The exhibition is permanently housed at the Banknote Museum of the Ionian Bank on the island of Corfu.
Admission is free. Guided tours and educational programmes are also available free of charge.
To visit the exhibition or attend an educational programme, contact Mr Konstantinos Christopoulos: