Albanian lek

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Albanian lek
Leku Shqiptar  (Albanian)
ALB0073bo.jpg Albanien2.jpg
1000 L banknoteLekë coins
ISO 4217
Code ALL
Number 008
Exponent 2
Denominations
Subunit
 ​1100 Qindarka
Plural Lekë
Symbol ALL
Banknotes
 Freq. used 200 L, 500 L, 1000 L, 2000 L, 5000 L
Coins
 Freq. used 5 L, 10 L, 20 L, 50 L, 100 L
 Rarely used 1 lek
Demographics
Date of introduction 16 February 1926
User(s) Albania Albania
Issuance
Central bank Bank of Albania
 Website www.bankofalbania.org
Valuation
Inflation 2.1%
 Source The World Factbook, 2009 est.

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]

Before then, Albania was a country without a currency, adhering to a gold standard for the fixation of commercial values. Before the First World War the Ottoman Turkish piastre was in full circulation, but following the military occupation of the country by various continental powers the gold franc (Franc Germinal) was adopted as the monetary unit. In 1923 Italian paper circulated at Scutari, Durazzo, Valona, and Argyro-Castro, and the Greek drachma at Kortcha, the values of which varied according to locality and the prevailing rates of exchange as compared with gold.[2]

Etymology[edit]

The lek was named after Alexander the Great,[3] whose name is often shortened to Leka in Albanian.[4] 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.[5] 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 ​14, ​12 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", "V" or "L", indicating Rome, Vienna or London.

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, 1 lek and 2 lek in stainless steel, and silver 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 Albanian eagle with 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 ​12, 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 was 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)[6]
Observe Reserve Value Technical parameters Description Date of
Diameter Mass Composition Edge Obverse Reverse minting issue withdrawal lapse
G824.jpg G823.jpg 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
G900.jpg G901.jpg 5 lekë 20 mm 3.00 g Fe Ni6 St eagle from the Flag of Albania,
"Republika e Shqipërisë", year
1995
2000
2011
G818.jpg G817.jpg 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
G393.jpg G392.jpg 20 Lekë 22.5 mm 5.00 g Liburni ship,"Republika e Shqipërisë", year of issue.
1996
2000
2012
G766.jpg G765.jpg 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
G921.jpg G920.jpg 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
ALB0019o.jpg ALB0019r.jpg 10 lekë
ALB0020o.jpg ALB0020r.jpg 50 lekë
ALB0021o.jpg ALB0021r.jpg 100 lekë
ALB0022o.jpg ALB0022r.jpg 500 lekë
ALB0023o.jpg ALB0023r.jpg 1,000 lekë
1949 and 1957 series
Obverse Reverse Value
10 lekë of Albania in 1949 Obverse.png 10 lekë of Albania in 1949 Reverse.png 10 lekë
50 lekë of Albania in 1949 Obverse.png 50 lekë of Albania in 1949 Reverse.png 50 lekë
100 lekë of Albania in 1949 Obverse.png 100 lekë of Albania in 1949 Reverse.png 100 lekë
500 lekë of Albania in 1949 Obverse.png 500 lekë of Albania in 1949 Reverse.png 500 lekë
1000 lekë of Albania in 1949 Obverse.png 1000 lekë of Albania in 1949 Reverse.png 1,000 lekë

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
ALB0033ao.jpg ALB0033ar.jpg 1 lek Green Peasant couple with wheat Castle of Shkodër
ALB0034ao.jpg ALB0034ar.jpg 3 lekë Brown Woman carrying basket of fruit Vlora
ALB0035ao.jpg ALB0035ar.jpg 5 lekë Purple Steam train and truck Ship
ALB0036ao.jpg ALB0036ar.jpg 10 lekë Green Woman working in a textile mill Bureaucrats and peasants socializing outside the Palace of Culture, Naim Frashëri
ALB0037ao.jpg ALB0037ar.jpg 25 lekë Dark blue Woman with wheat, combine harvesting Mechanized ploughing
ALB0038ao.jpg ALB0038ar.jpg 50 lekë Red Army on parade, Skanderbeg Rifle, pickaxe, apartment block under construction
ALB0039ao.jpg ALB0039ar.jpg 100 lekë Scarlet Man showing his son a new hydroelectric dam Steelworker with oil worker, gesturing grandly, steelworks and oil wells in background
Undated issue (1985)
Obverse Reverse Value Colour Obverse Reverse
ALB0046A2ao.jpg ALB0046A2ar.jpg 100 lekë Blue Steelworker pouring an ingot, steelworks in background Mountains and oil wells

1992 series[edit]

1992 Series
Image Value Dimensions Main Colour Description Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse first printing issue withdrawal lapse
ALB0055co.jpg ALB0055cr.jpg 100 lekë 154 × 72 mm Violet National fighter Eagle and mountains 1994 25 April 1994 1 January 2009[7] 1 January 2024[7]
ALB0056ao.jpg ALB0056ar.jpg 200 lekë 162 × 78 mm Brown Ismail Qemali Coat of arms of Albania, declaration of independence of Albania 1992 1 October 1992
ALB0057ao.jpg ALB0057ar.jpg 500 lekë 170 × 78 mm Blue Naim Frashëri Poetry of Frashëri 1 July 2010[7]
ALB0061co.jpg ALB0061cr.jpg 1000 lekë 178 × 78 mm Green Skanderbeg Krujë Castle 1 April 2011[7]
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixel per millimetre. For table standards, see the banknote specification table.

1996 series[edit]

On 11 July 1997, a new series of banknotes dated 1996 was introduced.[8]

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

1996 Series[9]
Image Value Dimensions Main Colour Description Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse printing withdrawal lapse
ALB0062o.jpg ALB0062r.jpg 100 Lekë 130 × 66 mm Purple Fan S. Noli First Albanian Parliament building 1996 1 January 2009[7] 1 January 2024[7]
ALB0071-2012o.jpg ALB0071-2012r.jpg 138 × 69 mm Orange Naim Frashëri Birthplace of Frashëri 1996, 2001, 2007,[10] 2012 Current
ALB0072-2015o.jpg ALB0072-2015r.jpg 500 Lekë 145 × 68 mm Blue Ismail Qemali Vlorë independence building 1996, 2001, 2007, 2015 (With use of Ë) [11]
ALB0073bo.jpg ALB0073br.jpg 1000 Lekë 151 × 72 mm Green Pjetër Bogdani Church of Vau 1996, 2001, 2007, 2011
ALB0074-2012o.jpg ALB0074-2012r.jpg 2000 Lekë 160 x 72 mm Purple King Gent (Gentius); three ancient coins Amphitheatre at Butrinto (near Saranda), yellow gentian (Gentiana lutea) 2007
ALB0075-2013o.jpg ALB0075-2013r.jpg 5000 Lekë 160 × 72 mm Brown Skanderbeg Krujë Castle 1996, 2001, 2007, 2013

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: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD
From OANDA: 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:"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Trade Information Bulletin, Numbers 79 to 118, 1923
  3. ^ 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... 
  4. ^ 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... 
  5. ^ "Albanian Gold Coins - Albania". taxfreegold.co.uk. Archived from the original on 5 December 2013. 
  6. ^ Bank of Albania. Available at:http://www.bankofalbania.org/web/Monedha_te_qarkullimit_43_1.php#1 Archived 3 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Bank of Albania. Available at:"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  8. ^ Bank of Albania. Available at: http://www.bankofalbania.org Archived 3 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Bank of Albania. Available at: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 June 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  10. ^ Bank of Albania. Available at:"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2013. 
  11. ^ "Mirësevini në faqen e Bankës së Shqipërisë". www.bankofalbania.org. Archived from the original on 16 November 2017. 

External links[edit]