When the National Archaeological Museum recently closed its doors for renovation work in view of the upcoming 2004 Olympics in Athens, the museum’s popular shop was also forced to shut down. Selling copies produced by the Archaeological Receipts Fund, the shop was situated in the museum’s basement. Following a great number of phone calls from the shop’s regular customers, however, the Archaeological Receipts Fund decided to open a new shop to carry museum replicas. Situated at 57 Panepistimiou Street, the new shop might be small, yet has all the necessary items on display. Situated next to a bookstore, it is elegant, featuring nice colors, pretty windows and above all, great merchandise. According Yiannis Salavanos, the Fund’s director, opening the new store was essential in order not to miss out on vital revenues for two years while the museum is under renovation. Already, in the short time it has been in operation (approximately three weeks now) the new outlet had posted sales of 8,000 euros. Another crucial element here is service, as all the staff members are trained to entice potential buyers with their knowledge – one would have to go through an imposing catalog of replica works to learn oneself about each item – and though the new shop area is relatively small and cannot compete with the shops of the great private museums, it is perfectly stocked and flooded with orders. In the middle of the holiday season, prices for gifts range from 8 to 2,494 euros. Gift ideas Highlights in the shop include various coin collections (33 to 45 euros); coin collections from various parts of the country (140 euros); and boxes containing coins from 27 different areas of the Aegean (840 euros), while elegant gifts for women include scarves (from 33 to 40 euros) and quality jewelry pieces (from 8 to 435 euros). The production of the replicas began in 1893, the same year that the National Archaeological Museum was founded, and its aim was to use ancient Greek art for scientific and educational purposes. The high quality of the copies, however, soon led to far greater production, which, even today, is not always able to meet the high demand. Every original copy is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity that allows for its transportation abroad, along with a brief note (in both Greek and English) on the original’s provenance. For more information call tel 210.331.9227.