For 2016, the Bank of Greece will be releasing just three silver coins, and three gold ones. All year. Now that isn’t a huge amount of coins, especially when the low mintages are taken into account (just 2,000 for a national bank release is pretty low), so it’s no surprise that new releases are quite sought after. It certainly helps that the BoG plays to its strengths, the huge depth of ancient history that Greece has available to it. Recent coin releases have taken advantage of that.

Greek Culture has been an ongoing theme in recent years, with a range featuring some of the finest Greek, indeed world philosophers, and also their equally impressive pantheon of poets and playrights. This new coin is firmly in philosopher territory and follows on from last years excellent Aristotle coin. Democritus (Demokritos) has often been credited with atomic theory, that held that “everything is composed of “atoms”, which are physically, but not geometrically, indivisible; that between atoms, there lies empty space; that atoms are indestructible, and have always been and always will be in motion; that there is an infinite number of atoms and of kinds of atoms, which differ in shape and size.”

He equally wrote works on mathematics, anthropology, cosmology, biology, ethics, and politcics. Unfortunately, none of his works survived the Middle Ages except in fragmentary form, or as quoted in later works. Born around 460BC in Abdera in Thrace, he lived to the ripe old age of 90, perhaps older if contemporary accounts are to be believed.

The coin is beautifully struck and very nicely designed, much like the early coins; in fact one of the first coins in the range, Socrates, won the award for ‘Historically Most Significant Coin’ at the 2014 Krause Coin of the Year awards. Depicting a bust of what is supposed to be the man himself, alongside an atomic symbol, it neatly sums up his achievements in a 40mm disc of silver. The Greek coat-of-arms surrounded by a series of spiralling patterns occupies the obverse, into which is also inscribed the denomination. The coin comes in a nice quality clamshell case, although in a plain white shipper. A quarter-ounce gold version with an identical design is also available. We were lucky to borrow a silver coin from a sponsor and take the pictures below, although the gold images are from the mint. Taken through the capsule so not perfect, they do show the detail struck into this fine coin.

SILVER ONE-OUNCE

MINTS DESCRIPTION

Demokritos is considered the forefather of modern atomic theory. He was born in Abdera, Thrace, and mentored by Lefkippos.  His extensive travels in Ionia brought him into contact with the teachings of the great Ionian philosophers (Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Herakleltos). A truly universal spirit, he was erudite in almost all fields of human knowledge, as evidenced by the diversity of his writings on ethics, physics, mathematics, music, cosmology & technology.

According to his atomic theory, all material bodies consist of invisible, indestructible, unalterable and indivisible particles which he called atoma (“atoms”), the Greek word for “indivisible”.  In reaction to Parmenides’s static philosophy, Demokritos saw the world as being on constant motion and change.  He also refuted the concept of teleology, i.e. that there is an underlying purpose to everything. Demokritos was the last of the great pre-Socratic philosophers, who were to have a profound influence on modern philosophy.

GOLD QUARTER OUNCE

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SPECIFICATION

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
10 EURO 0.925 SILVER  34.1 g 40.0 mm PROOF 2,000 YES / YES
200 EURO 0.9167 GOLD 7.98 g 22.1 mm PROOF  1,000 YES / YES

MINT LINK

THE BANK OF GREECE