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German issued Greek currency, 50,000 Drachmai note

Object | Accession Number: 2003.413.88

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    German issued Greek currency, 50,000 Drachmai note

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    Brief Narrative
    German-issued Greek National currency valued at 50,000 Drachmai. The Greek currency, called Drachma, can be traced back to the 6th century BC. The currency was discontinued after the Roman conquest of Greece, and reissued after Greece gained independence from the Ottoman Empire. Many of the Greek notes featured figures and images from Greek Mythology and history. Featured on this note is a bust of an athlete. Athletics has a long tradition in Greece, with many city states holding their own individual competitions and also competing against each other in the Panhellenic games and the ancient Olympics. Only Greek citizens were allowed to compete, and the victors brought honor to themselves, their families, and their hometowns. On April 6, 1941, Germany invaded Greece to support Italy and forced the Greeks to surrender by the end of the month. Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria collectively occupied Greece until Italy’s surrender to the Allies in September 1943. Then Germany occupied all of Greece, and forced the Greek government to pay for the occupation by printing more paper money with higher denominations. The excess Drachmai caused hyperinflation, and the price for goods and services rose dramatically. During the occupation, the price of corn was 9 million Drachmai per pound. The essentially worthless paper bills gave way to bartering of supplies such as olive oil, cigarettes, and wheat. Due to the invasion and the harsh economic policies, hundreds of thousands of Greeks died from lack of food during the German occupation.
    issue:  1944 January 14
    issue: Greece
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joel Forman
    face, top, printed, black ink : ΤΡΑΠΕΖΑ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΛΑΔΟΣ [BANK OF GREECE]
    face, bottom left, printed, black ink : ΔΡΑΧΜΑΙ / 50.000 / ΠΛΗΡΩΤΕΑΙ ΕΝΙ ΤΗ, ΕΜΦΑΝΙΣΕΙ Ο ΔΙΟΙΚΗΤΗΣ / []illegible signature] DRACHMAI / 50.000 / IS PAYABLE TO THE ADMINISTRATOR
    face, bottom right, printed, black ink : ΔΡΑΧΜΑΙ / 50.000 / ΕΝ ΑΘΗΝΑΙΣ ΤΗ. 14 ΙΑΝΟΥΑΡΙΟΥ 1944 / ΟΙ ΔΙΕΥΘΥΝΤΑΙ / [illegible signature] [DRACHMAI / 50.000 / IN ATHENS January 14, 1944 / THE DIRECTOR]
    face, corners, printed, white : 50.000
    face, bottom, printed, white : ΠΕΝΤΗΚΟΝΤΑ ΧΙΛΙΑΔΕΣ [FIFTY THOUSAND]
    reverse, top, printed, black ink : ΤΡΑΠΕΖΑ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΛΑΔΟΣ [BANK OF GREECE]
    reverse, bottom, printed, black ink : ΕΚΔΟΣΙΣ ΤΡΩΤΗ [FIRST ISSUE]
    reverse, corners, printed, white : 50.000
    Issuer: Trapeza te?s Hellados

    Physical Details

    Exchange Media
    Object Type
    Paper money (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Greek currency printed on lightweight, off-white rectangular paper. The face has a large centered bust of a man with short, curly hair in right profile, against a blue woven background. The bust is inside a circular frame bordered with black, rounded lobes filled with sinuous lines and a lower banner in the same pattern. Flanking the bust are several lines of Greek text, and the numeric denomination in black. The text and center image are overlaid on a blue, latticework background. The serial number is stamped on the upper right in red ink. The background has a black border with Greek text at the top, and the numeric denomination at each corner. The reverse bears a large, centered, rectangular shape comprised of thin, sinuous lines with the numeric denomination in the center. Flanking the center are layered, flower-like shapes comprised of curving lines. All three figures are overlaid on a light brown background of small, linked circles. The background has a black border with Greek text at the top and bottom, and the numeric denomination at each corner. The edges of the paper are smudged and there are several small creases throughout.
    overall: Height: 2.625 inches (6.668 cm) | Width: 5.250 inches (13.335 cm)
    overall : paper, ink
    face, top, right, stamped red ink : 943290 ΑΕ

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

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    Administrative Notes

    The currency was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003 by Joel Forman.
    Record last modified:
    2023-07-06 14:02:49
    This page:

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