Albanian lek

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Albanian lek
Leku Shqiptar  (Albanian)
Albanien2.jpg
ISO 4217 code ALL
Central bank Bank of Albania
 Website www.bankofalbania.org
Date of introduction 16 February 1922
User(s) Albania Albania
Inflation 2.1%
 Source The World Factbook, 2009 est.
Subunit
 1/100 qindarkë
qindarkë q
Plural Lekë
qindarkë qindarka
Coins
 Freq. used 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 lekë
 Rarely used 1 lek
Banknotes
 Freq. used 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 Lekë

The lek (Albanian: Leku Shqiptar; plural lekë) (sign: L; code: ALL) is the official currency of Albania. It is subdivided into 100 qindarka (singular qindarkë), although qindarka are no longer issued.

History[edit]

Alexander the Great on the first Albanian 1 lek coin.

The lek was introduced as the first Albanian currency in February 1926.[1]

Etymology[edit]

The lek was named after Alexander the Great,[2] whose name is often shortened to Leka in Albanian.[3] Alexander's portrait appeared on the obverse of the 1 lek coin, while the reverse showed him on his horse.

The name qindarkë comes from the Albanian qind, meaning one hundred. The word is thus similar in formation to centime, cent, etc.

Franga[edit]

Between 1926 and 1939 the name Franga was used for Albanian gold currency worth five Albanian Leke for use in international transactions.[4] A similar alternate name Belga was used for units of five Belgian francs.

Coins[edit]

First lek[edit]

In 1926, bronze coins were introduced in denominations of 5 and 10 qindar leku, together with nickel ¼, ½ and 1 lek, and silver 1, 2 and 5 franga ar. The obverse of the franga coins depict Amet Zogu. In 1935, bronze 1 and 2 qindar ar were issued, equal in value to the 5 and 10 qindar leku. This coin series depicted distinct neoclassical motifs, said to have been influenced by the Italian king Victor Emmanuel III who was known to have been a coin collector. These coins depict the mint marks "R" or "V" indicating Rome or Venice.

Under the direction of Benito Mussolini, Italy invaded and occupied Albania and issued a new series of coins in 1939 in denominations 0.20, 0.50, and 1 Lek in stainless steel, and silver 2, 5, and 10 lek were introduced, with the silver coins only issued that year. Aluminium-bronze 0.05 and 0.10 lek were then introduced in 1940. These coins were issued until 1941 and bear the portrait of Italian King Victor Emmanuel III on the obverse and the Italian eagle and fasces on the reverse.

In 1947, shortly after the communist party took power, older coins were withdrawn from circulation and a new coinage was introduced, consisting of zinc ½, 1, 2 and 5 lekë. These all depicted the socialist national crest. This coinage was again minted in 1957 and used until the currency reform of 1965.

Second lek[edit]

In 1965, aluminium coins (dated 1964) were introduced in denominations of 5, 10, 20 and 50 qindar and 1 lek. All coins depict the socialist state emblem.

In 1969, a second series of aluminum 5, 10, 20, 50 qindar and 1 lek coins was released commemorating the 1944 liberation from fascism. The three smallest denominations remained similar in design to the 1964 series but depicted "1944-1969" on the obverse. The 50 qindarka and lek coins depicted patriotic and military images.

In 1988, a third redesign of aluminum 5, 10, 20, 50 qindarka and 1 lek coins were released. The 50 qindarka and 1 lek coins were problematically identical in size, weight, and appearance so aluminum-bronze 1 lek coins with the inscription "Republika Popullore Socialiste e Shqipërisë" were released later that year for better identification. In 1989, a cupro nickel 2 leke coin was introduced. All three of these coin series remained in circulation during and shortly after the 1991 revolution.

Third lek[edit]

In 1995 and 1996, new coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 lekë, with a bimetallic 100 lekë added in 2000.

Coins of the lek (1995–present)[5]
Image Value Technical parameters Description Date of
Diameter Mass Composition Edge Obverse Reverse minting issue withdrawal lapse
---- 1 lek 18 mm 3.00 g Cu Zn5 Plain Nominal value,
branches artistically carved in the form of a crown.
A pelican in the center,
"Republika e Shqipërisë", year
1996
2008
1 January 1997
current
---- 5 lekë 20 mm 3.00 g Fe Ni6 St eagle from the Flag of Albania,
"Republika e Shqipërisë", year
1995
2000
2011
---- 10 Lekë 21.25 mm 3.600 g Cu Al6 Ni2 Serrated Nominal value,
branches artistically carved in the form of a crown.
Berat Castle, "Republika e Shqipërisë",
year
1996
2000
2009
1 January 1997
---- 20 Lekë 22.5 mm 5.00 g Liburni ship,"Republika e Shqipërisë", year of issue.
1996
2000
2012
---- 50 Lekë 24.25 mm 5.500 g Cu75 Ni25 Serrated Nominal value,
branches artistically carved in the form of a crown.
Portrait of the Illyrian King Gentius."Republika e Shqipërisë",
year
1996
2000
1 January 1997
---- 100 Lekë 24.75 mm 6.700 g Cu Ni25 (ring), Cu Al6 Ni2 (center) Nominal value,
branches artistically carved in the form of a crown.
Portrait of the Illyrian Queen Teuta,"Republika e Shqipërisë",
year
2000
1 September 2000
These images are to scale at 2.5 pixels per millimetre. For table standards, see the coin specification table.

Commemorative coins[edit]

In 2001, 100 and 200 Leke were issued under the theme of Albania's integration into the EU and 50, 100, and 200 Leke under the 500th anniversary of the Statue of David. In 2002, 50 Leke and 100 Leke were issued for the 90th Anniversary of the Independence of Albania and 20 Leke under the Albanian Antiquity theme. In 2003, 50 Leke was issued in memory of the 100th anniversary of the death of Jeronim De Rada. In 2004, 50 Leke was issued under the Albanian Antiquty theme depicting traditional costumes of Albania and the ancient Dea. In 2005, 50 Leke were issued for the 85th anniversary of the proclamation of Tirana as capital and the theme of traditional costumes of Albania.

Banknotes[edit]

First lek[edit]

In 1926, the National Bank of Albania (Banka Kombëtare e Shqipnis) introduced notes in denominations of 1, 5, 20 and 100 franka ari. In 1939, notes were issued denominated as 5 and 20 franga. These were followed in 1944 with notes for 2, 5 and 10 lek and 100 franga.

In 1945, the People's Bank of Albania (Banka e Shtetit Shqiptar) issued overprints on National Bank notes for 10 lek, 20 and 100 franga. Regular notes were also issued in 1945 in denominations of 1, 5, 20, 100 and 500 franga. In 1947, the lek was adopted as the main denominations, with notes issued for 10, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 lekë.

1947 series
Obverse Reverse Value Colour Obverse Reverse
10 Lek Albania (1947) O.jpg 10 Lek Albania (1947) R.jpg 10 lekë Peach Partisan Geometric designs
50 Lek Albania (1947) O.jpg 50 Lek Albania (1947) R.jpg 50 lekë Dark green Partisan Geometric designs
100 Lek Albania (1947) O.jpg 100 Lek Albania (1947) R.jpg 100 lekë Dark blue Partisan Geometric designs
500 Lek Albania (1947) O.jpg 500 Lek Albania (1947) R.jpg 500 lekë Brown Partisan Geometric designs
1000 Lek Albania (1947) O.jpg 1000 Lek Albania (1947) R.jpg 1,000 lekë Dark blue/multicoloured Partisan Geometric designs
1949 and 1957 series
Obverse Reverse Value Colour Obverse Reverse
10 Lek Albania (1949) O.jpg 10 Lek Albania (1949) R.jpg 10 lekë Red Coat of arms Coat of arms
AlbaniaP25-50Leke-1949-donated f.jpg AlbaniaP25-50Leke-1949-donated b.jpg 50 lekë Dark blue Skanderbeg Partisan
100 Lek Albania (1949) O.jpg 100 Lek Albania (1949) R.jpg 100 lekë Green Partisan Geometric designs
AlbaniaP27-500Leke-1949-donated f.jpg AlbaniaP27-500Leke-1949-donated b.jpg 500 lekë Orange/blue Wheat harvesting, Skanderbeg Peasant woman with wheat
1000 Lek Albania (1949) O.jpg 1000 Lek Albania (1949) R.jpg 1,000 lekë Purple Skanderbeg, oil wells A miner

Second lek[edit]

In 1965, notes (dated 1964) were introduced by the Banka e Shtetit Shqiptar in denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 lekë. A second series of notes was issued in 1976 when the country changed its name to the People's Socialist Republic.

1964 and 1976 series
Obverse Reverse Value Colour Obverse Reverse
1 lek obverse.jpg 1Lek.jpg 1 lek Green Peasant couple with wheat Castle of Shkodër
3 lek obverse.jpg 3 lek reverse.jpg 3 lekë Brown Woman carrying basket of fruit Vlora
5 lek obverse.jpg 5 lek reverse.jpg 5 lekë Dark blue Steam train and truck Ship
10 lek obverse.jpg 10 lek reverse.jpg 10 lekë Green Woman working in a textile mill Bureaucrats and peasants socializing outside the Palace of Culture, Naim Frashëri
25Leke(1964).jpg 25 lek reverse.jpg 25 lekë Dark blue Woman with wheat, combine harvesting Mechanized ploughing
50 lek obverse.jpg Albanian 50 lek banknote 1976.jpg 50 lekë Red Army on parade, Skanderbeg Rifle, pickaxe, apartment block under construction
AlbaniaP39a-100Leke-1964-donated f.jpg AlbaniaP39a-100Leke-1964-donated b.jpg 100 lekë Scarlet Man showing his son a new hydroelectric dam Steelworker with oil worker, gesturing grandly, steelworks and oil wells in background
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre.
Undated issue
Obverse Reverse Value Colour Obverse Reverse
AlbaniaP46Aa-100Leke-ND-donated f.jpg AlbaniaP46Aa-100Leke-ND-donated b.jpg 100 lekë Blue Steelworker pouring an ingot, steelworks in background Mountains and oil wells

Third lek[edit]

500 lekë notes were introduced on 28 June 1991, followed by denominations of 200 and 1000 lekë on 1 October 1992.

1991 Series
Image Value Dimensions Main Colour Description Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse printing issue withdrawal lapse
AlbaniaP47a-100Leke-1991-donatedoy f.jpg AlbaniaP47a-100Leke-1991-donatedoy b.jpg 100 lekë 159 × 77 mm Purple Oil refinery Oil wells, steelworkers, steelworks 1991
500 lek (1991) obverse.jpg 500 lek (1991) reverse.jpg 500 lekë 155 × 75 mm Light blue Girl with sunflowers Mountains 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 28 June 1991[6] 1 July 2010[6] 1 January 2024[6]
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre.

1992 series[edit]

1992 Series
Image Value Dimensions Main Colour Description Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse first printing issue withdrawal lapse
100 lek obverse.jpg 100 lek reverse.jpg 100 lekë 154 × 72 mm Violet National fighter Eagle and mountains 1994 25 April 1994 1 January 2009[6] 1 January 2024[6]
200Lek(1992).jpg 200 lek reverse.jpg 200 lekë 162 × 78 mm Brown Ismail Qemali Coat of arms of Albania, declaration of independence of Albania 1992 1 October 1992
500 lek (1992) obverse.jpg 500 lek (1992) reverse.jpg 500 lekë 170 × 78 mm Blue Naim Frashëri Poetry of Frashëri 1 July 2010[6]
1000 lek (1992) obverse.jpg 1000 lek (1992) reverse.jpg 1000 lekë 178 × 78 mm Green Skanderbeg Krujë Castle 1 April 2011[6]
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre.

1996 series[edit]

On 11 July 1997, a new series of banknotes dated 1996 was introduced.[7]

Notes dated 1996 were printed by De La Rue in the United Kingdom.

1996 Series[8]
Image Value Dimensions Main Colour Description Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse printing withdrawal lapse
AlbaniaP62-100Leke-1996-dab f.jpg AlbaniaP62-100Leke-1996-dab b.jpg 100 Lekë 130 × 66 mm Purple Fan S. Noli First Albanian Parliament building 1996 1 January 2009[6] 1 January 2024[6]
200Lek(1997).jpg 200 lek 1997 reverse.jpg 200 Lekë 138 × 69 mm Brown Naim Frashëri Birthplace of Frashëri 1996, 2001, 2007,[9] 2012 Current
500 lek obverse.jpg 500 Albanian lek reverse.jpg 500 Lekë 145 × 68 mm Blue Ismail Qemali Vlorë independence building 1996, 2001, 2007
1000Lek.jpg 1000 lek reverse.jpg 1000 Lekë 151 × 72 mm Green Pjetër Bogdani Church of Vau 1996, 2001, 2007, 2011
2000 Lekë 156 × 72 mm Purple King Gent Amphitheatre at Butrinto 2007
5000 lek obverse.jpg 5000 lek reverse.jpg 5000 Lekë 160 × 72 mm Gold Skanderbeg Krujë Castle 1996, 2001, 2007
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre.

Exchange rates[edit]

Current ALL exchange rates
From Google Finance: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD
From Yahoo! Finance: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD
From XE.com: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD
From OANDA.com: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD
From fxtop.com: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bank of Albania. Available at:http://www.bankofalbania.org/web/A_brief_history_of_the_Bank_of_Albania_5338_2.php
  2. ^ Leslie Alan Dunkling; Adrian Room (1 January 1990). The Guinness Book of Money. Guinness Publishing. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-85112-399-8. "...the lek takes its name from the abbreviated name of Alexander the Great, who was associated with this region of Europe..." 
  3. ^ Howard M. Berlin (2006). World Monetary Units: An Historical Dictionary, Country By Country. McFarland & Company Incorporated Pub. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-7864-2080-3. "...The current monetary unit, the lek, is derived from the abbreviation of the Albanian spelling of Alexander the Great..." 
  4. ^ http://taxfreegold.co.uk/albania.html
  5. ^ Bank of Albania. Available at:http://www.bankofalbania.org/web/Monedha_te_qarkullimit_43_1.php#1
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bank of Albania. Available at:http://www.bankofalbania.org/web/Kartemonedha_pa_kurs_ligjor_5264_1.php
  7. ^ Bank of Albania. Available at: http://www.bankofalbania.org
  8. ^ Bank of Albania. Available at: http://www.bankofalbania.org/web/Kartemonedha_te_qarkullimit_202_1.php
  9. ^ Bank of Albania. Available at:http://www.bankofalbania.org/web/200_leke_5653_1.php

External links[edit]