Phoenix (currency)

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Phoenix (Greek Φοίνιξ). The first currency of the modern Greek state. It was originally issued in 1828 in the form of a silver coin equal in value to the French Franc. Its official denomination was the lepton (1 phoenix = 100 lepta).

The name was that of the mythical Phoenix bird, and was meant to symbolize the rebirth of Greece.

Only 12,000 coins were minted, and most transactions in Greece continued to be carried in foreign currency. No lepta coins were issued. Lacking precious metals to mint more coins with, the government issued an additional 300,000 phoenixes as paper currency with no underlying assets to back them up. As a result, the paper notes were universally rejected by the public. In 1832, the currency system was reformed, and the Drachma was introduced to replace the Phoenix.