Athens 2004 - Olympic Games coins
In August 2004, the Olympic Games returned to the country where they were born over 2,500 years ago, and to
Athens the city of their revival in 1896. Within the framework of the Olympic Coin Program, the Greek Mint
issued a series of commemorative coins, Gold and Silver, on which Greek history and heritage were engraved.
The total collection includes 18 coins (6 Gold and 12 Silver) which were released in 6 quarterly issues, each
consisting of 1 Gold and 2 Silver coins. The themes were selected by the Minister for the National Economy and
the Governor of the Bank of Greece, from a set of proposals presented
by a national technical and artistic committee.
Olympic Coins History
The first time coins were minted showing the Olympic Games was in the 15th Olympiad in
Helsinki, Finland. The design was proposed for the 1940 Helsinki Games, but these were cancelled due to the
Second World War. The Austrians then followed with the 1964 Innsbruck Winter Olympics and the Japanese in the
Tokyo Summer Olympics. Ever since the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, each organizing country has minted
one or more coin series since the great demand from collectors helps to cover some of the Games' budget. The
number of Olympic coins issued has also increased, as 24 different coins were minted for the 1972 Munich
Olympics and 45 for the 1980 Moscow Olympics. The success of circulation has led other countries to mint
Olympic Games coins, the so-called 'sympathy coins' which have a secondary collectors' value. In 1996, the
International Olympic Committee proceded to implement the Centennial Coin Programme by minting 90,000 gold
and 500,000 silver coins in fourty different countries. This programme gave a new impetus to the 'noble
contest' of collectors.
The idea of issuing special coins commemorating the Olympic Games is not new. The
silver statire issued in Aegina in 687 b.C. was the first of each kind, so the
having a long history of issuing commemorative gold and silver coins, could not pass out on this opportunity.
As Nikolaos Garganas, Governor of the Bank of Greece, emphasized in his speech on March 3, 2003, the bank has
- 3 silver and 2 gold drachma coins for the XIII Paneuropean Games held in Athens in 1982
- 1 silver and 1 gold drachma coins for the Olympic Torch for the Olympic Games held in Los Angeles in 1984
- 2 silver and 1 gold drachma coins for the Olympic Games as part of the coin programme mentioned earlier, in 1996
Common side - Specifications
The coins have been designed by the painter and engraver Panayiotis Gravalos, while the reliefs were created by
the sculptor Kostas Kazakos, who, having worked for five years for the
Greek Mint, has put his signature on several of the most beautiful Greek coins. One of these, the
50 drachma coin, was awarded first prize in a competition in Washington
D.C., USA, in 1988 and is considered by many to be the most beautiful coin in the world. The Official Coins of
the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games are of unique value to coin collectors, since they will be limited in number of
designs and mintage per coin, compared to previous Olympic coin collections.
The designs of the Gold coins have a civilization theme and portray prominent landmarks from the history of
Greece. The Silver coins feature sporting themes and each design motif has been rendered using a modern depiction
in the foreground contrasted with a classical depiction of the sport in the background. Thus the designs
communicate the passage - through - time with the foreground modern depiction rendered in a crisp precise manner,
while the classical backgrounds are rendered in such a way that they appear to be worn, much as a coin appears
with the passage of time. The Olympic Flame series portrays themes from the Olympic Torch Relay
The coins fatures two concentric rings: the outer ring portrays 12 stars, a design
motif characteristic of Euro coins, and the inner ring portrays the face value of 100 euros face value
for the gold coins and 10 euros for the silver ones, an olive branch, the ATHENS 2004 logo, the five
Olympic circles, and the anthemion flower - the symbol of quality of the Greek Mint.
|Proof 999.9 (24K
|Mintage (each design)
|Mintage (each design)
Olympic Coins Ceremony
On March 3, 2003, the Bank of Greece introduced the new limited issue of coins to commemorate the 2004 Olympic Games.
There are six series, each comprising one gold coin and two silver coins. The ceremony was attended by Finance Minister Nikos
Christodoulakis and the Governor of the Bank of Greece, Nikos Garganas, as well as the ATHENS 2004 President Gianna
Angelopoulos - Daskalaki. In her speech, Gianna Angelopoulos - Daskalaki underlined the importance of the coins, as the
collection comprises the first Olympic coins of the new millennium and at the same becomes the first "collectable" Greek euros.
It should be emphasised that the 2004 Olympic Games commemorative coins are a minted collection and that
they have unique collector's value in comparison with previous Olympic issues. Care was taken to ensure they
circulate with fewer designs and in a limited number of sets, so as to enhance their collectors status. In
all, 160,000 gold coins and 800,000 silver coins were put in circulation, and the quality of the minting is
"proof", the highest in modern numismatic art. The coins are accompanied by individually numbered certificates
of authenticity issued by the Bank of Greece. The anticipated gross revenue for ATHENS 2004 from their sale
was estimated to be of the order of €2.5 million and Alpha Bank
had exclusive distribution rights for the coins in Greece and Cyprus.
Efsimon Collections SA was the official licensee of the Olympic Committee for the distribution
of the Official Coins of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games. Efsimon Collections SA supported the effort towards
organising the best Olympic Games by creating high quality products with high collective value.