Greece: Coins Issued and Used

Showing only circulating coin types (regular coinage plus circulating commemoratives).

Greece (1822 - )
Information about what currencies were issued by Greece, with lists of coinage, as well as periods when foreign-issued currencies were used.
Currency: Phoenix. Used in Greece: (1828 - 1832)
Used1828 - 1832

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 phoenix replaced the Ottoman kuruş (called grosi γρόσι, plural γρόσια grosia by the Greeks) at a rate of 6 phoenixes = 1 kuruş.

The creation of a national currency was one of the most pressing issues for the newborn Greek state, so that the monetary chaos reigning in the country could subside. Prior to the phoenix's introduction, transactions were settled with a wide variety of coins, including the kuruş; coins from major European states, such as France, Britain, Russia and Austria, were also popular. Therefore, minting the phoenix was one of Governor Kapodistrias' greatest priorities, and he signed a decree authorising it on 12 April 1828. The Russian government lent Kapodistrias' administration 1.5 million rubles to start the project.

Only a small number of coins were minted, estimated to just under twelve thousand and most transactions in Greece continued to be carried in foreign currency at a rate fixed by the newly established Committee of Economy. 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, with the arrival of King Otto as monarch, the currency system was reformed and the drachma was introduced to replace the phoenix at par.

One Phoenix (demonetised 1832)
1 coin (1828)
Coin NameMintage
One Phoenix 1828 12,000
Twenty Lepta (Phoenix) (demonetised 1832)
1 coin (1831)
Coin NameMintage
Twenty Lepta 1831 2,273,000
Ten Lepta (Phoenix) (demonetised 1832)
3 coins (1828 - 1831)
Coin NameMintage
Ten Lepta 1828 450,000
Ten Lepta 1830 1,234,000
Ten Lepta 1831 1,223,000
Five Lepta (Phoenix) (demonetised 1832)
3 coins (1828 - 1831)
Coin NameMintage
Five Lepta 1828 400,000
Five Lepta 1830 380,000
Five Lepta 1831 22,000
One Lepton (Phoenix) (demonetised 1832)
3 coins (1828 - 1831)
Coin NameMintage
One Lepton 1828 480,000
One Lepton 1830 426,000
One Lepton 1831 612,000
Currency: Drachma. Used in Greece: (1832 - 1868)
PeriodFirst Drachma
Used1832 - 1868

The drachma was reintroduced in May 1832, shortly before the establishment of the modern state of Greece. It replaced the Phoenix at par. The drachma was subdivided into 100 lepta.

The first coinage consisted of copper denominations of 1, 2, 5 and 10 lepta, silver denominations of 1⁄4, 1⁄2, 1 and 5 drachmae and a gold coin of 20 drachmae. The drachma coin weighed 4.5 g and contained 90% silver, with the 20-drachma coin containing 5.8 g of gold.

Currency: Drachma. Used in Greece: (1944 - 1953)
PeriodSecond Drachma
Used1944 - 1953

In November 1944, after Greece was liberated from Germany, old drachmae were exchanged for new ones at the rate of 50,000,000,000 to 1. Only paper money was issued. The government issued notes of 1, 5, 10 and 20 drachmae, with the Bank of Greece issuing 50-, 100-, 500-, 1000-, 5000-, and 10,000-drachma notes. This drachma also suffered from high inflation. The government later issued 100-, 500-, and 1000-drachma notes, and the Bank of Greece issued 20,000-and 50,000-drachma notes.

Currency: Drachma. Used in Greece: (1953 - 2002)
PeriodThird Drachma
Used1953 - 2002

In 1953, in an effort to halt inflation, Greece joined the Bretton Woods system. In 1954, the drachma was revalued at a rate of 1000 to 1. The new currency was pegged at 30 drachmae = 1 United States dollar. In 1973, the Bretton Woods System was abolished; over the next 25 years the official exchange rate gradually declined, reaching 400 drachmae to 1 U. S. dollar. On 1 January 2002, the Greek drachma was officially replaced as the circulating currency by the Euro, and it has not been legal tender since 1 March 2002.

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