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Face and Obverse of a Phoenix coin

The phoenix (Greek φοίνιξ) was the first currency of the modern Greek state. It was introduced in 1828 and was subdivided into 100 lepta. The name was that of the mythical phoenix bird and was meant to symbolize the rebirth of Greece. The phoenix replaced the Turkish kuruş at a rate of 6 phoenix = 1 kuruş.

Only a small number of coins were minted and most transactions in Greece continued to be carried in foreign currency. Lacking precious metals to mint more coins with, in 1831, the government issued an additional 300,000 phonenixes 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 at par.

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