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 1831 issue was re-cut by Δημήτριος Κοντός (Dimitrios Kontos) and Γεώργιος Παπακωνσταντόπουλος (George Papakonstantopoulos) and a 20 Lepta denomination was released for the first time, with no circle surrounding the phoenix, a smaller bird and a tall cross. Varieties exist in the design and diameter.