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The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 42, October 21, 2007, Article 12

ATHENS NUMISMATIC MUSEUM REOPENS

[A web article describes the recent renovations at the
Athens Numismatic Museum, and it sounds like a wonderful
setting for coinage displays.  The article also mentions
some numismatic publishing efforts by the museum. -Editor]

"The revamp of the Numismatic Museum has revealed the
grandeur of an earlier era. As well as thousands of coins,
visitors can admire the wall paintings in the style of
Pompeii and mosaic floors made by Italian master craftsmen.

"The three-story building with a large courtyard built
in a mix of neoclassical and Renaissance styles is a sight
to admire on Panepistimiou Street. It was designed by Ernst
Ziller, who was responsible for such fine buildings in
Athens as the National Theater, the Stathatos Mansion,
and the Church of Aghios Loukas on Patission Street. The
former was the home of the archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann.

"When the last pieces of scaffolding were removed, the
revamp was deemed a success. The balconies with their
terracotta railings and the marble on the facade are bright
again, while the metal railings have been gilded in the
style of the era when the gate used to open every Thursday
to admit the cream of Athens society.

"The work has revealed the building’s impressive decor.
The frescoes by Slovenian painter Yuri Subic were done
according to the owners’ wishes, with subjects taken
from the villas of Pompeii. The mosaic floors were made
by Italian master craftsmen, with decorative motifs
inspired by or copied from finds excavated by Schliemann.

"Conservators have worked wonders on the second floor,
which had suffered damage when rented out to state services.
What used to be the home of Heinrich and Sophia Schliemann
and their children is painted ocher, deep green, sweet
red and blue and houses the museum’s collection of 500,000
items. There is an elevator for people of limited mobility,
and a modern cafe is an added attraction.

"Yiorka Nikolaou, Panayiotis Tselegas and their assistants
have created a period atmosphere with scales, lead seals,
stamps and coins that have been made into jewelry and amulets.

"Denarii, dirhams, ducats and even modern Greek drachmas
are among the exhibits that trace the history of money.
The six ground-floor rooms present the evolution of ancient
Greek coins, from the turtles of Aegina and owls of Athens,
to coins used throughout the ancient world, such as the
Athenian tetradrachm and the gold coin of Alexander the
Great. On the same floor, which is associated with the
social life of the Schliemann family, visitors can learn
about the history of the museum and its major donors.

"On the second floor, the journey into the world of coins
starts with the Roman era. Visitors can see how coins were
minted, what the images on them represent, bronze coins
minted for local use, and a banner portraying the system
of coins and their fluctuations in value. You can see how
much a meal at a hotel or a haircut cost, and what happens
when coins go out of circulation and are used as amulets
or jewelry.

"The library will be used for the Museum’s temporary
exhibitions, and currently holds old studies of numismatics,
while the last room tells everything you might want to know
about forgery and counterfeiting in the 19th century, when
the forgery of ancient coins became common, as the Museum’s
Director Despina Evgenidou explained.

"The next goal is to produce publications. The museum has
500,000 coins, of which visitors see only 10,8666, and the
collection is constantly enriched with new acquisitions.
Gradually some of them will appear in exhibitions related
either to the history of the building or to the coins. The
Numismatic Museum is the only one of its kind in the Balkans
and one of the few independent numismatic Museums."

Numismatic Museum, 12 Panepistimiou Street, Athens, tel
210 3643774, 210 3612190, 210 3612519

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

For more information on the Athens Numismatic Museum, see: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor 
at this address: whomren@coinlibrary.com

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