When Greece won its independence from Turkey in 1827, a new currency was struck showing a phoenix rising from the ashes to mark the kingdom's new-found freedom. But the phoenix lasted only five years, and was replaced by the traditional drachma, showing the head of the first king of the independent state, Otto.
By the time the republic was declared in 1924, the number of coins in circulation had dwindled and there was a serious shortage of cash. New coins were issued which scrapped the royal insignia, and these remained in circulation even after the restoration of the monarchy in 1935.
Inflation during World War II was dramatic in the extreme. In January 1941, £1 was worth 1,200 drachma. By October 1944 that had spiraled to 1,219bn drachma. A currency reform introduced a new drachma which was worth 50bn of the old variety but nevertheless inflation continued.
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