Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday: 10:00 – 18:00
Friday: 10:00 – 20:00
Exhibition celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the Numismatic Collection
50 years of Numismatic Collection
Alpha Bank is hosting the exhibition “The Other Side of the Coin” as part of the celebrations marking the 50-year anniversary of its Numismatic Collection.
Currently, the Alpha Bank Numismatic Collection, numbering almost 11,000 ancient coins, is considered among the largest and the most important of its kind worldwide. In the 50 years since its launch, 3,600 ancient coins have been brought back to Greece. The Collection was established in 1972 by Yannis S. Costopoulos, thanks to his love for coins, and his passion to save and disseminate the cultural heritage of Greece.
Yiannis S. Costopoulos (1938-2021) was a prominent banker and the historic leader of the Alpha Bank Group. Having studied Naval Architecture at King’s College in the UK, he embarked on his career at the Commercial Credit Bank in 1963. From 1996 to 2005 he served as Chairman of the Board and CEO of Alpha Bank. In 2014 he received the title of Honorary Chairman of the Board.
Owing to his great passion for Greek culture, in 1972 Yiannis Costopoulos purchased the numismatic collections of A. Andreopoulos and A. Meletopoulos, starting off the Alpha Bank Numismatic Collection. From 1984 to 2015, the Collection was enriched with another 7 private collections. Meanwhile, it expanded continuously with purchases of coins on auction abroad.
The exhibition “The Other Side of the Coin” includes:
- 150 coins from the Numismatic Collection that showcase the other side of coins. They capture faces and narrate events from Greek mythology and antiquity, while they also include figures and instances from the Roman and Byzantine eras.
- The Collection Timeline that lists the most significant events, and includes selected documents and photos that have sealed the progress and evolution of the Collection. They are a part of history, paying tribute to the memory of its founder, Yiannis S. Costopoulos.
A special educational corner with audiovisual apps and videos has also been set up. It includes digital games about coins as well as the 2 educational museum kits.
The exhibition is linked to the same-titled publication ”The Other Side of the Coin: Persons – Images – Moments” in Greek and English, with rich texts and images. The catalogue also includes forewords by Ute Wartenberg Kagan, President of the International Numismatic Council and President/Research Curator of the American Numismatic Society; Katerina Liampi, Professor Emeritus of the University of Ioannina; Vasileios Rapanos, Chairman of the Alpha Bank Board of Directors; and Vassilios Psaltis, Alpha Bank Group CEO.
The multiple roles of coins
The exhibition aims to showcase the “Other Side of the Coin”, which transforms it from a utilitarian object into:
- A medium for communicating and transmitting messages.
- A snapshot immortalising persons and events.
- An artwork reflecting the artistic currents and the creative talent of its engravers during the period when it was put into circulation.
Coins trace the historical and cultural character of a peoples at a given place and time. They also offer rich material for anyone wishing to explore various aspects of the past. They are the basic means of exchange, which first appeared in the second half of the 7th century BCE.
Coins have also been linked to the show of force, and confirm independent political existence and autonomy. Besides, coins could only be issued by social groups empowered to institute their own laws – that is, they were autonomous, which derives from the Greek words auto = self and nomos = law.
An accessible exhibition
The exhibition “The Other Side of the Coin” is accessible for people with visual and/or motor disabilities. This was made possible through working with the Lighthouse for the Blind and the Panhellenic Association of Paraplegics.
This significant initiative by Alpha Bank aims to raise awareness in terms of respecting diversity and lifting inequalities. Through this action, Alpha Bank is sending a strong message of inclusion and reaffirms its commitment for equal access to culture for all, in line with the Corporate Responsibility targets it has set.
The exhibition “The Other Side of the Coin” is split into 3 sections:
1. Within the realm of the myth
The exciting world of gods, heroes, mythical figures and mythical creatures were a source of inspiration for coin engravers. The numismatic iconography works as a visual and communication medium, serving religious, political and oppressive goals.
Cities and rulers, across regions and historical periods, used myth and illustrated legends on coins to reinforce religious faith and worship, but also to:
- Showcase the glorious past of certain cities.
- Endorse political propaganda for certain rulers.
2. In the course of history
Coins depicted historical figures and images from historical events across different periods, linked to the issuing authority each time.
An image narrated the political and historical background of a given era. At the same time, the face of the ruler was used to highlight their virtues and traits, but also acted as a reminder of their birth-given right to power.
3. Snapshots of everyday people and images of nature
The day-to-day lives of people and nature were an endless source of inspiration for ancient engravers. Through their remarkable craftsmanship, simplicity and imagination, coins became a glimpse into the world surrounding them.
In this room, a video presents the 2 sides of 20 selected coins, magnified and in motion.
Exhibition curator: Dr Dimitra Tsangari, numismatist and curator of the Alpha Bank Numismatic Collection.
Artistic and architectural design: Stamatis Zannos.
Educational graphics: Elias Chatzichristodoulou, founder of the Athens Digital Arts Festival.
Other exhibition contributors include:
- Aristophanes Konstantatos, coin conservation
- Pantelis Magoulas, coin photographs
- Panos Kokkinias, exhibition area photographs
- Alexandra Douma, Klitos Paraskevopoulos, English translation
- Nikos Paschalidis, digital prints
- K2design, catalogue design
- SOLID HAVAS SA, communication material design
- iMAGiNA Pictures, SOLID HAVAS SA and TOOL Digital Agency, video and digital games
- E.Lignos & Co. Museum Constructions, exhibition constructions
Virtual exhibition tour
You can take a virtual tour of the exhibition through your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop.
The user-friendly and visually appealing virtual environment we have created offers you the opportunity to explore the exhibition as if you were there, and visit the display cases with all the exhibits.
Above each exhibit, there is an icon with a magnifying glass. Once you click on it, the artwork appears in an enlarged view, allowing you to admire every detail.
Photos from the Press Conference
Highlights from the exhibition’s opening
Watch the videos
Α video about the history of the Numismatic Collection
Enjoy the video playing in the exhibition venue.Play the video
Α video about the exhibition
Watch a video about the exhibition.Play the video
A fully accessible exhibition
Watch the video to find out how we ensured that people with disabilities can enjoy the exhibition.Play the video