Euro in Greece

The Minister for the National Economy and the Governor of the Bank of Greece chose the designs for their euro coins from a set of proposals presented by a national technical and artistic committee.

The designer of the winning motifs was sculptor Georges Stamatopoulos, sponsored by the Bank of Greece. There is a separate design for each denomination.

All Greek euro coins bear the 12 stars of the European Union, the issue date and the anthemion, the mintmark of the Athens Mint, which operates under the supervision of the Bank of Greece. A feature of the Greek coins is that the value of each is written using Greek characters. Also, the euro cent is called a “lepto” in Greek, as opposed to the other EU languages which have adopted the word “cent”.

The coin of the 2 euro depicts a scene from a mosaic in Sparta (third century AD), showing Europa being abducted by Zeus, who has taken the form of a bull. Europa is a figure from Greek mythology after whom Europe was named. Edge lettering of the €2 coin: Hellenic Republic.

The image of the owl featured in the coin of the 1 euro was copied from an ancient Athenian 4-drachma coin (fifth century BC).

Eleftherios Venizelos (1864-1936), one of Greece’s most prominent political figures, is shown on 50 cent coin. He was a pioneer in social reform, a renowned diplomat and played a key role in modernising the Greek state and liberating Northern Greece and the Aegean islands.

The coin of the 20 cent commemorates Ioannis Capodistrias (1776-1831), a leading national and European politician and diplomat who became the first Governor of Greece (1830-31) following the Greek War of Independence (1821-27).

Rigas Fereos (Velestinlis) (1757-98) is featured on the coin of 10cent. He was a forerunner and leading figure of the Greek enlightenment, as well as a visionary and herald of Balkan liberation from Ottoman rule.

5 cent coins shows a modern sea-going tanker, reflecting the innovative spirit of Greek shipping.

Depicted on the coin of 2 cents is a corvette, a type of ship used during the Greek War of Independence (1821-27).

1 cent design features an advanced model of an Athenian trireme, the largest warship afloat for more than 200 years, dating from the time of the Athenian democracy (fifth century BC).

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