CM: This large bronze medal was commissioned to sculptor Michalis Tombros and issued in 1966 in commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the National Bank of Greece. It features on the obverse a bust of Georgios Stavrou (1787-1869), founder in 1841 of the National Bank of Greece; the oldest and largest commercial bank in Greece. The reverse presents the Athenial Owl as featured on the classical tetradrachm (449-413 BC). The medal's reverse is arguably the most accomplished facet of the medallion, and its lower center is signed by the artwork's author. Tombros chose the Athenian Owl to confer honor to Georgios Stavrou as the bank's founder and first governor. Stavrou's portrait also appeared on Greek paper money at the time. The medal was minted by Messrs Picchiani & Barlacchi in Florence, Italy.
Georgios Stavrou, founder of the National Bank of Greece, was born in 1787 in Ioannina, son of one of the city's elders. Having studied in Ioannina under Cosmas Balanos (1731-1808) and Athanassios Psalidas (1767-1829), he left for Vienna, where he studied at the famous Vienna Commercial School shortly before taking office at the commercial business of his father in 1811. Then in 1824 he returned to Greece during the War of Independence (1821-1829), importing a lot of munitions and offering his services as secretary of Georgios Kountouriotis (1782-1858). Following the advent of Ioannis Capodistrias he became a member of several committees, most important of which were the National Bank, the Audit Office and the Ministry of Finance. In 1841 he founded the National Bank of Greece, which issued paper money until the establishment of the Bank of Greece in 1928. At Ioannina he bequeathed the founding of the Boarding School for Boys and supported monasteries and churches, as well as the poor.
[Megakles Rogakos 08/2008]
CATALOGUE Michalis Tombros 1979 Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Andros Island
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Silent Dialogues: Multimedia Portraits Throughout Time 2008 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens