Numismatic Museum of Athens
The Numismatic Museum in Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

:Νομισματικό Μουσείο) is one of the most important museums of Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 and houses one of the greatest collections of coins, ancient and modern, in the world. The museum itself is housed in the former mansion of Heinrich Schliemann
Heinrich Schliemann
Heinrich Schliemann was a German businessman and amateur archaeologist, and an advocate of the historical reality of places mentioned in the works of Homer. Schliemann was an archaeological excavator of Troy, along with the Mycenaean sites Mycenae and Tiryns...

, the famous archaeologist, formally known as Iliou Melathron (“Palace of Ilion
Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

”, Greek: Ιλίου Μέλαθρον).


The first tries of coins collecting by the state began shortly after the independence of Greece in Aegina
Aegina is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece in the Saronic Gulf, from Athens. Tradition derives the name from Aegina, the mother of Aeacus, who was born in and ruled the island. During ancient times, Aegina was a rival to Athens, the great sea power of the era.-Municipality:The municipality...

. The collection was enriched after excavations, purchases and donations. The museum was founded in 1838, around the same era with the National Archaeological Museum but it was not until many years after and several decrees that became an independent organization. Initially, the collection was a part of the National Library of Greece
National Library of Greece
The National Library of Greece is situated near the center of city of Athens. It was designed by the Danish architect Theophil Freiherr von Hansen, as part of his famous Trilogy of neo-classical buildings including the Academy of Athens and the original building of the Athens...

 and was housed at the main building of the University of Athens and later at the building of the Academy of Athens
Academy of Athens (modern)
The Academy of Athens is Greece's national academy, and the highest research establishment in the country. It was established in 1926, and operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Education...

 where the collection was first exhibited. In 1946, the collection was moved at the National Archaeological Museum. The organization of the museum became twice independent, in 1893 and 1965.

The Iliou Melathron was granted in order to house the collection in 1984 and after a major renovation it finally opened in 1998.

The Iliou Melathron

The Numismatic Museum is housed at the Iliou Melathron, a three-storey building on Panepistimiou Street
Panepistimiou Street
Panepistimiou Street is a major street in Athens that runs one way for non-transit vehicles since 2002 from Amalias Avenue, Syntagma Square and Vassilissis Sofias Avenue to Omonoia Square in which is now a pedestrian crossing and before an intersection...

. It was built between 1878-1880 for Heinrich Schliemann and the architect was the then famous Ernst Ziller
Ernst Ziller
Ernst Moritz Theodor Ziller was a Saxon architect who later became a Greek national, and in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was a major designer of royal and municipal buildings in Athens, Patras and other Greek cities.- Buildings :* Presidential Mansion, Athens* National Theatre of...

. At the time of its completion, it was considered to be the most magnificent private residence of Athens. Its design was inspired by the Renaissance Revival movement as well as Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome...

, while the interior is influenced by the architecture of Pompeii. As a result, the rooms are decorated with mosaics and murals depicting either themes from the Trojan War or Greek mottos. In 1927, the widow of Heinrich Schliemann, Sophia, sold the building to the Greek State and it was subsequently used as the seat of the Council of State
Council of State (Greece)
In Greece, the Council of State is the Supreme Administrative Court of Greece.-Organization:...

 and later the Court of Cassation
Court of Cassation (Greece)
The Court of Cassation is the Supreme Court of Greece for civil and criminal law. The Court of Cassation's decisions are irrevocable. If the Court of Cassation concludes that a lower court violated the law or the principles of the procedure, then it can order the rehearing of the case by the lower...

The use of the building as a courthouse caused much damage. After the building was chosen to house the Numismatic Museum, it underwent a major renovation under which the floor mosaics and the murals were restored. Finally, the numismatic collection was inaugurated in the partly restored building in 1998 while the whole collection became viewable in 2007.


The collection of the museum contains 600,000 objects, mainly coins but also medals, standard masses, dies, stamps and others, from the 14th century BC until modern times. The collection is arranged in such a way so as to follow the history of coinage. The museum keeps a very important collection of coins from the 6th century BC until the 5th century CE like those from the Greek Poleis
Polis , plural poleis , literally means city in Greek. It could also mean citizenship and body of citizens. In modern historiography "polis" is normally used to indicate the ancient Greek city-states, like Classical Athens and its contemporaries, so polis is often translated as "city-state."The...

 and the Hellenistic
Hellenistic period
The Hellenistic period or Hellenistic era describes the time which followed the conquests of Alexander the Great. It was so named by the historian J. G. Droysen. During this time, Greek cultural influence and power was at its zenith in Europe and Asia...

 and Roman periods. There also major Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and Medieval collections from Western Europe, the East and the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...


A large portion of the collection is constituted by coins that were found in hoard
In archaeology, a hoard is a collection of valuable objects or artifacts, sometimes purposely buried in the ground. This would usually be with the intention of later recovery by the hoarder; hoarders sometimes died before retrieving the hoard, and these surviving hoards may be uncovered by...

s while the rest comes from the initial collection of Aegina, recent excavations in mainland Greece and donations.

The museum houses a library of 12,000 books specialized in the study of coinage. There is also a perfectly equipped conservation laboratory.

Location and visitors information

The Numismatic Museum is on 12 Panepistimiou Street
Panepistimiou Street
Panepistimiou Street is a major street in Athens that runs one way for non-transit vehicles since 2002 from Amalias Avenue, Syntagma Square and Vassilissis Sofias Avenue to Omonoia Square in which is now a pedestrian crossing and before an intersection...

 near Syntagma Square
Syntagma Square
Syntagma Square , is located in central Athens, Greece. The Square is named after the Constitution that King Otto was forced to grant the people after a popular and military uprising, on September 3, 1843....

. It is served by the Syntagma metro station
Syntagma station
The Syntagma station of Attiko Metro is located at Syntagma Square in the center of Athens, Greece. It serves as a transfer point to the Blue Line with the Red Line . It also serves as a connection point to the Athens Tram. When the Metro first opened, the station was the terminal station for both...

. There is a museum shop and a coffeehouse in the garden.

See also

  • List of museums in Greece
  • List of museums with major numismatic collections
  • Ancient Greek coinage
    Ancient Greek coinage
    The history of Ancient Greek coinage can be divided into three periods, the Archaic, the Classical, and the Hellenistic. The Archaic period extends from the introduction of coinage to the Greek world in about 600 BCE until the Persian Wars in about 480 BCE...

  • Byzantine coinage
    Byzantine coinage
    Byzantine currency, money used in the Eastern Roman Empire after the fall of the West, consisted of mainly two types of coins: the gold solidus and a variety of clearly valued bronze coins...

  • Numismatics
    Numismatics is the study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, and related objects. While numismatists are often characterized as students or collectors of coins, the discipline also includes the broader study of money and other payment media used to resolve debts and the...

External links

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