Ancient Greek coins were known for their beauty and advanced coin designs. The Greek Drachma was the currency used in many Greek states over a period of ten centuries. The periods included the Archaic period, the Classical period, through the Hellenistic period, and up to the Roman period under Greek imperial coinage.
The Drachma was brought back under modern times when Greece was successful in the war of independence (1821-1830) against Ottoman rule. The Ottomans ruled Greece from about 1453 up until the Greek revolution of 1921. The Drachma replaced the Phoenix as the currency after Greece became independent.
Modern Greece 1821- Present
Modern Greece covers a period from 1921 to present. The Greek gold coins we will highlight here were coins issued after Greece became independent.
Greek Drachma coins were issued from 1932, however many of these were in copper and silver. During the reign of King Otto (1833-1863) the first edition of the Gold Drachma coin was issued, although the mintage was very limited and these coins are rare.
The highest minted Drachma gold coin was issued under the rule of George I in 1884. It is estimated that approximately 550,000 Gold Drachmas were minted for the 1884 edition. There are also some 1876 Drachma gold coins that were issued under George I, however, this edition is also rare.
Many ancient coins of Greece are sought after by collectors, but as previously mentioned many consist of silver and copper. While other editions of Gold Drachmas exist, they are extremely rare. One of the reasons Greek coins are sought after is because of the rich history of the country. Greek coins were considered one of the most advanced and best designed coins of their era.
The Drachma gold coins being offered at CelticGold include:
20 Drachma gold coin (1884)
The 1884 edition that was issued under the rule of George I.
100 Drachma gold coin (1967) and 20 Drachma gold coin (1967)
The 1967 edition that was issued in 1970 to commemorate the “Regime of the Colonials”, which was a military dictatorship that ruled Greece from 1967-74.
20 Drachma Gold Coin (1884)
The motif side of the coin features a right side profile of King George I who ruled from 1864 to 1913. The inscription around the outer edge is translated as “George I King of the Greeks”. The year of issue “1884” is below the motif.
To the left of the year of issue is the letter “A”, which stands for the Paris Mint where the coin was produced. To the right is the word “BARRE”, which represents the engraver Jean-Auguste Barre. The edge bar is slightly raised and has an ornamental circle that surrounds the coins outer edge.
The value side depicts the coat of arms with a cross that is predominantly displayed in the center. The engravings around the outer coin edge are translated as “Kingdom of Greece” “20 Drachmai” and “My power the Love of the People”. The value side was also engraved by Jean-Auguste Barre.
King George I
Originally born in Copenhagen, King George I was only 17 years old when he was elected king by the Greek National Assembly. His appointment was supported by Great Britain, Ireland, the French empire and the Russian empire. Georges rule of close to 50 years was distinguished by expanding the Greek territory across Europe before World War I. King George’s reign was the longest in modern Greek history. In 1913 he was assassinated in Thessaloniki at the age of 67.
Weight: 0.1867 ounces
Diameter: 21.3 mm
Nominal Value: 20 Drachma
100 Drachma Gold Coin (1967 National Revolution)
During the rule of King Constantine II, Greece was taken over by a military dictatorship called the “Regime of the Colonials” who ruled the country for 7 years between 1967-1974. In 1974, Greece held elections and abolished its monarchy and a new parliamentary republic was formed.
The coin was issued in two denominations: the 100 Gold Drachma, which has a weight of 0.9335 oz and a mintage of approximately 10,000 coins and the 20 Gold Drachma which has a weight of 0.1867 oz with a mintage of around 20,000 coins. These coins were initially not very popular because they were associated with a dark time in Greek history. However, they have since grown in appeal because of their limited mintage and beautiful design.
Although the Drachma gold coin has an issue date of 1967, it was released three years later in 1970. The motif side of the coin depicts a soldier holding a weapon. In the background is a large bird that resembles an eagle. The date “1967” is embossed below the motif.
The value side depicts the coat of arms for Greece. Below the coat of arms in the nominal value. The edge bar is slightly raised, which protects the coins surface.
Product specifications (100 Drachma 1967)
Weight: 0.9335 ounces
Diameter: 35 mm
Nominal Value: 100 Drachmas
Product Specifications (20 Drachma 1967)
Weight: 0.1867 ounces
Diameter: 21 mm
Nominal Vale: 20 Drachma
Greek coins are sought after by collectors from all over the world
Drachma gold coins have beautiful and artistic designs
Have a fineness of 900/1000
Most editions have a limited mintage
Semi-Numismatic Gold Coins
Before buying semi-numismatic gold coins investors should become familiar with the factors that influence the gold price. These include: supply and demand, global interest rate policies, and geo-political factors. It is also important to understand the history of gold as a monetary asset.
When buying semi-numismatic coins, like the Drachma gold coin, investors and collectors should understand how the premium is calculated on gold coins. The premium is the cost and margin of the mint and the bullion dealer. However, other factors can also influence the premium. These include:
The condition of the bullion coin. Uncirculated semi-numismatic bullion coins can have a higher premium if they are mint state.
Generally speaking, the more rare a coin, the higher the premium.
If coins have historical significance, the premium can also be higher.
Supply and demand can also impact the premium. If a particular coin is in high demand than the premium may be higher.
Greek History (Post 1832)
In 1921 Greece rose up against the Ottoman Empire and was assisted by the “Great Powers”, which included Great Britain, France and Russia. The Great Powers recognized the desire of the Greek rebels to form an independent Greece. Originally Greece was going to be an independent state under Ottoman suzerainty. However, the treaty of Constantinople officially recognized Greece as a fully independent nation.
King Otto was the first ruler of modern Greece and reigned from 1933-1963. The early part of King Otto’s rule was challenging, as Bavarian regents ruled in his name and forced German ideals of government on the Greek people. However, Otto was still able to establish a structure for a new education system, army, administration and justice system. Otto would eventually appoint Greek ministers to his government, but some Bavarian officials still remained at the army and in the administration.
A new age of Greek politicians grew tired of the way King Otto was running the Government. In the final year of his rule he discharged his popular Prime Minister and this caused a military rebellion, which forced him to leave the country.
Prince Alfred, who was Queen Victoria’s (Britain) son was considered as the next king. However, a young Danish prince named George I was chosen as the King of Greece. King George I would go on and rule from 1864-1913
World War I and II
After the assassination of King George in Thessaloniki, his son Constantine took the throne and was the first Greek born king and the first king to be Greek orthodox.
He would rule from 1913-1917 and again from 1920-1922. Greece was initially neutral during World War I, but would eventually be forced into the war in 1917.
In World War II, the Greco-Italian war took place between Italy and Greece on Oct 28, 1940 through april 23, 1941. Later in the war, Greece was occupied by Germany from 1941-44.
Post World War II
Before joining NATO in 1952, Greece went through a prolonged civil war where the Greek communists tried unsuccessfully to gain control of the country. Greece then went through a military dictatorship in 1967 that lasted for 7 years and was known as the “Regime of the Colonials”. Under the Greek military junta, King Constantine II was forced to flee the country.
In 1974 Democratic elections abolished the monarchy and a new parliamentary system of government was created. Greece joined the European Community in 1981 and adopted the Euro in 2001.
In Germany, investment gold coins are exempt from VAT regulated in § 25c UStG. The following criteria make the 20 Drachma gold coin investment gold.
The gold coin must have been stamped after 1800.
It must be or have been an official means of payment in the country of production.
It must have a fine gold content of at least 900/1000.
The gold coin may not exceed the open market value by more than 80%
Country of origin: Greece
Size 1: 20 Drachma gold coin
Size 2: 100 Drachma gold coin
Scratch resistance: Good
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