Are there any drachmas?

May 14, 2012, 1:07 pm

As everyone knows, money is a medium of exchange as well as a store of value. Suppose Greece leaves the Euro: are there any drachmas around to serve as a medium of exchange? As of January, apparently, no. (Though rumors say otherwise.) Have some been printed or minted meanwhile? Probably not; it would create a panic.

“I don’t think you could do it much faster than four months,” says Mark Crickett, one of De La Rue’s consultants.

But a government could not commission and take delivery of a new currency without word leaking out and panic spreading.

It is much more likely that a withdrawal for the euro would be announced suddenly, and then there would be an interim period – those four months, say – during which a temporary national currency would be used.

Euro notes previously in circulation in a withdrawing country might be overprinted, or have special stickers added.

(I used to live near a De La Rue plant. It had a distinctive smell.)

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