|Coin Type||Five Lepta (Phoenix)|
The phoenix (Greek: φοίνιξ) was the first currency of the modern Greek state. It was introduced in 1828 by Governor Ioannis Kapodistrias and was subdivided into 100 lepta. The name was that of the mythical phoenix bird and was meant to symbolize the rebirth of Greece during the still ongoing Greek War of Independence.
The first dies for the phoenix were carved by Χατζή-Γρηγόρης ο Πυροβολιστής (Chatzigrigoris Pyrobolistis, or Hajji Grigoris the Shooter), an Armenian jeweler, and the first sample coins were produced on 27 June 1829, in the agreed denominations of 1 phoenix, 20 lepta, 10 lepta, 5 lepta and 1 lepton. On 30 June 1829 the National Mint was founded, and production of coins continued. 1 October 1829 was set as the official launch date for the new currency. All phoenixes were minted at the National Mint of Aegina, which continued to operate until 1833.
The diameter of the coins varies, as well as elements of the design (sun rays, letters in the inscription). In 1830, the obverse was re-cut with the circle around the phoenix now consisting of pearls instead of being solid as before, a taller bird and a smaller cross. The diameter was changed from to 27mm to 25mm.
The 1831 issue was re-cut by Δημήτριος Κοντός (Dimitrios Kontos) and Γεώργιος Παπακωνσταντόπουλος (George Papakonstantopoulos), with no circle surrounding the phoenix, a smaller bird and a tall cross. Again, there exist varieties in the design and diameter.
The obverse of the coin features within a circle a phoenix bird rising from the flames, head turned to left. Above the head of the phoenix is a cross. Around, ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΠΟΛΙΤΕΙΑ αωκαʹ, with a six-pointed start dividing the words ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΠΟΛΙΤΕΙΑ (translation: Greek State).
αωκαʹ in the old Greek dating system stands for 1821, the year of the Greek uprising which resulted in the birth of the independent state of Greece.
|Obverse Inscription||ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΠΟΛΙΤΕΙΑ αωκαʹ|
At centre, the denomination 5 ΛΕΠΤΑ (5 Lepta) within laurel and olive branches. Around, ΚΥΒΕΡΝΗΤΗΣ Ι. Α. ΚΑΠΟΔΙΣΤΡΙΑΣ (Governor I. A. Kapodistrias). Below, the date.
|Reverse Inscription||5 ΛΕΠΤΑ ΚΥΒΕΡΝΗΤΗΣ Ι. Α. ΚΑΠΟΔΙΣΤΡΙΑΣ [year]|