One Lepton, Coin Type from Ionian Islands - detailed information

One Lepton, Coin Type from Ionian Islands (issued 1821 - 1862)
Coin TypeOne Lepton

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.


Winged lion of St. Mark facing to left holding Bible and seven arrows; below, the date; around above, ΙΟΝΙΚΟΝ ΚΡΑΤΟΣ (Ionian State, in Greek).

Obverse InscriptionΙΟΝΙΚΟΝ ΚΡΑΤΟΣ

Figure of Britannia seated facing right with shield and trident; above, BRITANNIA. In 1821 only, the number 4 in exergue (indicating 1/4 of an obol).

Reverse InscriptionBRITANNIA
Edge InscriptionNone

References to additional information:

[Book] Atkins, James. 1889. The Coins and Tokens of the Possessions and Colonies of the British Empire. pp 19-20
[Book] Pridmore, Fred. 1960. The Coins of the British Commonwealth of Nations Part 1, European Territories.
[Book] Remick, Jerome. 1971. The Guide Book and Catalogue to British Commonwealth Coins., pp 392-394

One Lepton: Details
CountryIonian Islands
CurrencyIonian Obol
Sub-types Quarter Obol
Fifth Obol
Face Value1 (x Lepton)
CurrentNo (demonetised 1864)
DesignerWilliam Wyon
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
Size (mm)
Mass (g)
One Lepton: Photos
Coin - 1 Lepton, Ionian Islands, Greece, 1835
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Notes: Fifth obol (1834 - 1862).
Coin - 1 Lepton, Ionian Islands, Greece, 1835
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Notes: Fifth obol (1834 - 1862).