The Running-Themed Coins of Greece
Large coins were not so popular in Greece. Usually they are rare and expensive. In the 19th century we had the five drachmas coins which were the large ones. In the 20th century they are more but not the same class. The first large coins can be considered the 20 Lepta of 1831 of Ioannis Kapodistrias. The diameter of this coin is 36 millimiters. The first classic large coin was the 5 Drachmas of King Othon. In 1982 the Paneuropean Games in Athens was a reason for a series of commemorative coins. The silver coins of 500 Drachmas were at the size of 36 millimiters. The obverse sides was showing ancient runners (1981), Olympic racers at the starting block (1982) and two female racers (1982). The reverse side was a showing the national emblem, the arms of democracy. A very beautiful reverse side. The last large coins were in 1996 for the Atlanta Olympic Games. These are the largest coins of modern Greek history: 42 millimiters. One showing ancient runners and one ancient wrestlers. The reverse side was showing the Kalimarmaro Stadium. None of these coins is so attractive.
- Black coins - Made of a mixture of copper and silver (less than 10%). The silver was on the surface (like silver plated copper). It was quickly corrupted and the coins became black.
- Blank - A piece of metal that is going to be the coin after it is struck.
- BU - This condition is for coins that are used for commemorative purposes and are (1) struck using new dies and (2) the disk is struck lighter than is done for proof specimens but more than is done for those going into circulation.
- Coinage strike - A coin that needs to be turned vertically to see the two sides.
- Commemorative coin - A coin that is struck on special occasions, usually for collection purposes.
- Counterstamp - Letters or images struck onto a coin already in circulation, to validate it (e.g. by a later ruler) or to change the value, usually to lower the value.
- Die - A hard metal object with concave inside which is engraved with a mirror image of the coin. It is pressed onto the blank to make the coin.
- Double Strike - An error caused when a coin is accidently struck twice by the die.
- Electrum - Natural mixture of gold and silver.
- Field - The area of the coin that has no design on it.
- Graining - The teeth around the edge of a coin.
- Hoard - A number of coins that are found hidden somewhere.
- Medal - Looks like a commemorative coin but it doesn't have a value on it and can be struck by private mints.
- Medal strike - A coin that needs to be turned horizontally to see the two sides.
- Mint mark - Small mark on a coin denoting the identity of the mint.
- Mint set - A set of coins, all with the same date in BU or Proof condition. They are sold in cases and the packaging is done by the mint. The price is higher than the face value of the coins.
- Mule - A coin that is struck using dies from two different coins.
- Obverse or Front side - The "head". Usually shows the head of a person.
- Off-Center - A coin on which the die did not strike in the center, so parts of the coin's design do not appear.
- Overdate - A re-engraving of the die to change the date.
- Patina - The coloring and surface that time and surroundings cause to appear on a coin. This not the rust on coins caused by burying them in moist ground, neither is it the 100 or 150 year old coloring that can be removed using lemon juice.
- Pattern - A test coin for the design of a new one.
- Proof - A different method of striking coins to make them more attractive: (1) the blanks that are used are of excellent quality; (2) the dies are new and previously unused; (3) the strike is made at higher pressure and temperature; (4) the pressing of the coin is done slower; and (5) the strikes on the disk to make a proof are more than the ones which go into general circulation.
- Re-engraving - The extra work on the design of the die for the improvement of the coin.
- Relief - The distance between the highest and the lowest places of the design of a coin.
- Reverse or Back side - The "tails". The other side of the coin.
- Token - Replacements of coins for small societies that have no value outside the society and not produced by the State. In some Greek villages until the 80s you could still come across plastic "Marks" for buying bread.
- Value - There are three values of a coin. The real value, the nominal value and the metal's value. The first is the value that the coin as sold today. The second is the value that is written on it, and the third is the value of the metal if it were melted down.