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SOME ANOMALIES FOUND ON GREEK BANK NOTES

John E. Sandrock

Greece, the Mother of Democracy, was at its peak during the 5th century B.C. No other culture has contributed more to civilization than the ancient Greeks. To them we owe our modern form of government, art, drama and architecture. In the 2nd century B.C. Greece fell under Roman domination, and from that time on experienced a troubled and often turbulent past. Greece remained part of the Byzantine Empire until it was subjugated, in turn, by the Crusaders in the year 1202. When Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453, Greece became part of the Ottoman Empire. Greece did not gain independence from the Ottomans until the revolution of 1821-1827, at which time the

country

became

a

monarchy.

A

monarchists and democratic factions

lengthy power which lasted for

struggle the next

developed between the century, at the conclusion

of which however,

Greece was proclaimed a republic. The first as the monarchy was restored by plebiscite in

Greek 1935.

republic was not to last The Kingdom of Greece

was again invaded, after World War II.

this

time

by

its

neighbor

Italy,

in

1939.

Peace

would

not

return

until

During the 1930s Italy, under the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, was engaged in colonial expansion. Mussolini's dream was to create a modern Roman Empire by subjugating weaker countries, thereby exploiting their resources for “Greater Rome”. He had great success in Africa; quickly over-running Libya, Eritrea, Somalia and Ethiopia. Emulating Adolph Hitler of Nazi Germany, who had already embarked upon the conquest of Europe, he next turned his attention to Europe and the impoverished nation of Albania. Albania was occupied by Italy in 1939. After Albania's king Zog I fled the country, king Victor Emanuel of Italy was declared king of Albania also. Driven by ambition and Hitler's initial successes, Mussolini then turned his attention to Greece which was invaded from Albania in October 1940. During the winter campaign the Italian army was driven back across the Albanian border. A stalemate existed between Greek and Italian forces until spring when Germany invaded Greece. The Germans quickly drove a British Expeditionary force, sent there to assist the Greeks, from the mainland and then from the island of Crete to which they had fled. The Kingdom of Greece was then occupied by German-Italian forces who remained until November 1944.

The first Greek paper money appeared after independence was declared in 1831. Notes of the National Finance Bank, the Bank of Greece and the National Bank of Greece issued prior to the banking law of 1885 are so rare as to be generally noncollectable. In this article we will focus on Greek notes issued by the Kingdom of

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