GOLD COIN “FLAGS OF GREECE - THE FLAG OF THE FRIENDLY SOCIETY”
1814 – Flags of Greece – The Flag of the Friendly Society
The “Friendly Society” (Philike Etaireia) was a secret organisation founded in Odessa, Russia, in 1814 by three Greeks of the diaspora: Emmanuel Xanthos, Nikolaos Skoufas and Athanasios Tsakalof. The Society’s objective was to free the Greeks of Ottoman rule, and its members included many who would play a prominent role in the Greek uprising. The Friendly Society’s flag, one of the first adopted by the revolted Greeks, was designed in March 1821 according to the instructions of Germanos, Bishop of Old Patras, a Society member, for distribution to the insurgent bands. Its design replicates the symbols from the certificate of initiation (ephodiastikon) to the rank of “priest” within the Society: a bundle of 16 columns tied together, possibly inspired by the fasces of ancient Rome (the significance of the number 16 remains obscure). The bundle is surmounted by a cross within an olive wreath, flanked by flag-bearing spears. The flags are inscribed with the letters ΗΕΑ (left) and ΗΘΣ (right), an abbreviation for the revolutionary motto «Ή Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος» (Freedom or Death).
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS AND OTHER INFORMATION
Diameter: 22.10 mm
Weight: 7.98 g
Material: gold (Au) 917‰, silver (Ag) 53‰
Maximum issue: 1,000 pieces
Minting quality: proof
Coin designed by: Maria Antonatou
The gold coins are made of 22k gold, the minting quality is proof and 1000 pieces of each coin have been issued. They are available as part of the entire threefold collection of the Numismatic Programme, i.e., 4 gold coins, 8 silver coins and 2 bimetallic coins.