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Year published: 2023

Two Sides of the Same Coin. Means of Transactions – Masterpieces of Art

The publication Two Sides of the Same Coin: Means of Transactions – Masterpieces of Art accompanies the same-titled exhibition held in Bucharest. It presents the 100 important coins from the Alpha Bank Numismatic Collection, which travelled to Romania for the exhibition. The work explores coins as both a means of transactions and a work of art that narrates stories and captures moments from the era in which they circulated.

Publication details
  • Edited by: Dimitra Tsangari
  • Language: English, Romanian
  • Year published: 2023

What the publication includes

The publication presents the two sides of the coin: The one everyone is familiar with, the coin as a means of transactions, and the one that showcases it as a storyteller, a snapshot of events and a masterpiece of ancient Greek art.

It includes a descriptive catalogue of 100 coins from the Alpha Bank Numismatic Collection, featuring illustrations and descriptions of both sides of the coins. Additionally, there is a text providing a concise history of the Numismatic Collection, its goals and its activities.

The catalogue of a fascinating exhibition

The work accompanies the same-titled exhibition “Two Sides of the Same Coin. Means of Transactions – Masterpieces of Art” hosted by the National Bank of Romania and Alpha Bank at the Museum of the National Bank of Romania in Bucharest. The 100 coins from the Alpha Bank Numismatic Collection featured in the publication travelled abroad for the 1st time on the occasion of the Collection’s 50th anniversary.

The publication includes greetings from:

  • Vasilis Psaltis, Alpha Bank Group CEO
  • Mugur Isărescu, Member of the Academy of Romania and Governor of the National Bank of Romania
  • Sergiu Oprescu, General Manager of the International Network of the Alpha Bank Group and Executive President of Alpha Bank Romania

A journey into mythology and history

The exhibition is structured in 4 sections:

  1. The appearance and the expansion of coinage: The 1st section presents the stages that led to the adoption of the small metal disc with representations on both sides as a means of carrying out transactions. It features 20 coins, including the first coin in history, the electrum hecte (1/6 stater), which appeared in the late 7th century BCE in western Asia Minor, the first coins of the bimetallic system, the first coins from Greece and the silver stater of Aegina, which inspired the current Alpha Bank logo.
  2. Narratives from the sphere of myth: The 2nd section includes 42 coins dedicated to Greek mythology. It depicts gods, such as the god Helios on the silver tetradrachm, Rhodes, secondary deities, city founders and kings. It also features mythological heroes, such as the great Hercules as depicted next to Zeus on the silver tetradrachm of Alexander the Great. Readers can also find well-known and obscure stories from Greek and Roman mythology.
  3. Narratives from the course of history: The 3rd section features 26 coins and presents significant historical events and prominent historical figures from Greek, Roman and Byzantine history. Notably, it explores the portrayal of Alexander the Great on coins from his successors, each providing their own perspective. The section ends with illustrations of major historic events, such as the Naval Battle of Salamis, the Olympic victories of Philip II, the battles of the Macedonians against the Paeonians and the Scythians, the existence of two governing centres during the early Byzantine period and the 2nd Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It includes the silver tetradrachm of Menander I and the gold solidus of Constantine the Great.
  4. Moments and images: The 4th section includes 12 coins depicting instances from various sectors of human activity, such as hunting, sports, wars and dancing. The coins with images from nature and the animal kingdom are quite interesting.

Edited by: Dimitra Tsangari
Publisher: Alpha Bank, National Bank of Romania
Place and time: Athens, 2023 (English edition) and Bucharest, 2023 (Romanian edition)
Dimensions: 23 x 30 cm
Pages: 192
Cover type: Hardcover
English ISBN: 978-618-5072-52-0
Romanian ISBN: 978-973-0-38731-5