A new article highlights the Bank of Greece's museum, which focuses (naturally) on money and coinage.
There’s not much to catch the eye at 3 Amerikis Street in central Athens, though this is where the National Bank of Greece houses its museum.
The museum’s current exhibition is on Greece’s numismatic history. It is free of charge and is proving to be very popular, especially among younger visitors, who are captivated by the clever exhibits.
The first exhibit is an attention grabber: It is a large installation consisting of five transparent boxes containing 1.5 million euros. Visitors crane their necks to make out the bills they expect to see, but this exhibit highlights the euro’s environmentally friendly character by showing the stuff that it’s made of rather than the bills themselves: cotton fibers.
Another exhibit is one of the most ancient coins in the bank’s collection: a small electrum coin from Chios featuring the emblem of the island, a sphinx.
Displays of banknotes from other parts of the world are also impressive. There are banknotes from Cuba adorned with portraits of Che Guevara, from India with Mahatma Gandhi and from Zaire, featuring a gorilla. There is also the first-ever banknote printed, which hails from China and comes with a warning to forgers that they will suffer a terrible punishment if caught.
The basement level of the museum contains displays of bank bonds, including a fascinating bond depicting a female figure with two children and another for 100 billion drachmas. The designs for the bonds, all done by hand and in incredible detail, are kept in drawers that can be opened by visitors, while there are also special display cases showing the templates and shedding light on the fine etchings and prints that were used. Angelos Xenos, the head of the service in charge of the bank’s archives and collections, is at hand to talk visitors through a display of all the tools and instruments used by those who designed and made banknotes and bonds.
It goes without saying that the most popular displays are the gold ingots and coins. The visual delight of the sparkling, well-polished gold bars is complemented by an audio stimulant as well, as the sound of tinkling coins from Pink Floyd’s landmark song “Money” plays in the background. On a similar pop culture note, there is a projection of the miserly cartoon character Scrooge McDuck taking a dive into a pile of gold coins, as well as a massive photograph of the central bank’s vault -- with security-sensitive details photoshopped out, of course.
To read the complete article, see:
Money: It's a hit at the Bank of Greece museum
Wayne Homren, Editor
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