In 1941 the shortage of bank notes became so severe that the government authorized an emergency re- issue of old, worn-out notes from previous issues which were awaiting destruction at the at the Bank of Greece. The notes remained in circulation for another year before finally being replaced. These punch canceled notes are rarely encountered today.
One of the most interesting inconsistencies in the German occupation note series involves a major color change on the obverse of the same note. This note happens to be the 500,000 drachma issue of 20 March 1944 which bears a bust of Zeus on the obverse (Pick 126). I have handled hundreds of this particular note over the years and have always found it to have the characteristic black and brown color combination on the obverse. The reverse of the note is always found in black and green. Therefore, you can imagine my surprise when handling a stack of these common notes to discover a major color change. On this note the under-print is green, not brown. By green I mean unmistakably green; I am not talking shades here or perhaps a faded note, but rather an entirely new 500,000 drachma color. So one must ask one's self “How can this be”? Since my green note bears the series letters ZZ (zeta zeta), at first I theorized that, being at the end of the alphabet run, so to speak, perhaps the printer just ran out of brown ink and substituted the green to finish the printing run. After all, by autumn 1944 inflation was running rampant with denominations increasing from hundreds of thousands of drachma to millions and eventually billions all within the span of a few months. What other explanation could there be? I was smug in my conviction until a friend gently pointed out the error of my ways. He reminded me that zeta was not the last letter in the Greek alphabet. The last Greek letter being omega (Ω), not zeta, so that blew my theory. Since zeta falls somewhere near the beginning of the alphabet, we must now ask ourselves “Why a color change in the middle of a production run?” I have no answer for this dichotomy. To my knowledge only one other such example of a green 500,000