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Detailed information about Coin: One Lepton 1851 from Ionian Islands

Coin: One Lepton 1851

The United States of the Ionian Islands was formed on 14 November 1815 and was made up of seven principal islands: Corfu, Cephalonia, Zante, Santa Maura, Ithaca, Cerigo and Paxo. These islands are represented by the seven arrows held by the winged lion of St. Mark (a Venetian symbol reflecting the Venetian control of the islands from 1401 until 1797).

Initially the Obol was subdivided into four Lepta (singular Lepton), so the first Lepton coin of 1821 is listed in some sources as a "Quarter Obol". The denomination was indicated on the coin by the number 4, indicating "one fourth". This one-year type was struck locally and was relatively crude.

Later issues were minted at the Royal Mint in London and, like the rest of the coinage with the exception of the 30 Lepta coins, do not indicate the denomination in any way. Subdivision of the currency was changed and one Obol was equal to 5 Lepta, so these are listed alternatively as "Fifth Obol".

On some coins there is a dot after the date and on some there isn't. However, this doesn't seem to be a mint mark. According to Remick's Guide and Catalogue of British Commonwealth Coins, some of the Ionian coinage was struck at the Ralph Heaton and Sons mint in Birmingham, but there is no indication which. The Greek Wikipedia entry on Ionian coinage only shows Birmingham one Obol (five Lepta) coins.

CountryIonian Islands CurrencyIonian Obol
Face value1 (x Lepton) TypeFifth Obol
Year1851 CurrentNo (demonetised 1864)
NameMintageMint mark
Royal Mint unknown No mint mark
MaterialCopper DesignerWilliam Wyon
Production technologyMilled (machine-made) ShapeRound
Size (mm)16 Thickness (mm)
Mass (g)1.8900

Winged lion of St. Mark facing to left holding Bible and seven arrows; below, the date 1851. (with or without a dot after); around above, ΙΟΝΙΚΟΝ ΚΡΑΤΟΣ (Ionian State, in Greek).

Obverse inscription ΙΟΝΙΚΟΝ ΚΡΑΤΟΣ 1851

Figure of Britannia seated facing right with shield and trident; above, BRITANNIA.

Reverse inscription


EdgePlain Edge inscription



Listed as one Obolus in Atkins 1889.

One Lepton 1851: Known varieties
1851. unknown (hover mouse for text)
Proof unknown
One Lepton 1851: Photos
One Lepton 1851: Photo Ionian Islands 1 Lepton 1851
Ionian Islands 1 Lepton 1851
Copyright: numis-kimel
One Lepton 1851: Photo Ionian Islands 1 Lepton 1851
Ionian Islands 1 Lepton 1851
Copyright: numis-kimel
One Lepton 1851: Catalogue Reference IDs
SourceReference ID
Krause, Standard Catalog of World CoinsIonian Islands / British Administration KM# 34
One Lepton 1851: References to Information Used
Atkins, Coins and Tokens of the British Empire 1889 Coin description
Remick, Catalogue of British Commonwealth Coins 1971 Mint
Remick, Catalogue of British Commonwealth Coins 1971 Varieties Proof, 1851.
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List of all (9) coins of type: Ionian Islands / One Lepton
One Lepton 1821 One Lepton 1834 One Lepton 1835 One Lepton 1848 One Lepton 1849 One Lepton 1851
One Lepton 1853 One Lepton 1857 One Lepton 1862