Greek phoenix

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The phoenix (Greek φοίνιξ) was the first currency of the modern Greek state. It was introduced in 1828 by Governor John Capodistria 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 (called grosi γρόσι, plural γρόσια grosia by the Greeks) 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, the government in 1831 issued an additional 300,000 phoenixes as paper currency with no underlying assets to back them. 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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