Sierra Leonean leone

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Sierra Leonean leone
ISO 4217 code SLL
Central bank Bank of Sierra Leone
User(s)  Sierra Leone
Inflation 11.1%
 Source The World Factbook, 2013 est.
 1/100 cent
Symbol Le
Coins 10, 50, 100, 500 leones
Banknotes 1000, 2000, 5000, 10 000 leones

The leone is the currency of Sierra Leone. It is subdivided into 100 cents. The ISO 4217 code is SLL and the leone is abbreviated as Le placed before the amount.


The leone was introduced on 4 August 1964. It replaced the British West African pound at a rate of 1 pound = 2 leones (i.e., 1 leone = 10 shillings).[1]

For an earlier Sierra Leone currency, see Sierra Leonean dollar.


In 1964, decimal coins were introduced in denominations of ½, 1, 5, 10 and 20 cents. The coins size and compositions were based in part on those of the former colonial state British West Africa. All bore the portrait of the first president of Sierra Leone, Sir Milton Margai. In 1972, 50 cents coins were introduced which carried the portrait of the succeeding president Dr. Siaka Stevens.

In 1974, round cupro-nickel one leone coins were introduced and in 1976, seven sided cupro-nickel 2 leone coins commemorating FAO were introduced. These latter two denominations, however, did not circulate as frequently as the lower cent denominations. The portrait of Stevens also appeared on a new, slightly smaller series of coins introduced in 1980 in denominations of ½, 1, 5, 10 and 20 cents. In 1987, octagonal, nickel-bronze 1 leone coins were introduced with a bust portrait of General Joseph Saidu Momoh. This coin effectively replaced the one leone note.

Following a period of economic collapse and the following Sierra Leone Civil War inflation became rampant, devaluing older coins. A new coin series was introduced in 1996 for 10, 50 and 100 leones. The 50 leones is octagonal while the other two are round. These coins were struck in nickel-plated steel and feature important figures in Sierra Leone's political history. Ten sided, bimetallic 500 leones coins were first introduced in 2004. Of the four coins in circulation, only the 100 leones is available in small quantity due to their low valuation and shortage of supply.

500 leones coins and the two lowest denominations are rarely encountered due to rampant metal theft in the impoverished country.

1 leone 1987
Coat of arms Joseph Saidu Momoh


In 1964, the Bank of Sierra Leone introduced notes in denominations of 1, 2 and 5 leones. These officially replaced notes of the British West African pound at a two leone to one pound exchange ratio. 50 cents notes were introduced in 1979, followed by 10 leones in 1980 and 20 leones notes in 1982. Throughout this period the value of the currency was fixed and remained relatively stable despite inherent economic problems.

100 leones notes were introduced in 1988, followed by 500 leones in 1991, 1000 and 5000 leones in 1993, 2000 leones in the year 2000 and 10,000 Leone in 2004.

All pre civil war notes (1964-1991) depicted the head of state during the time of issue. The first series depicting Sir Milton Margai and later issues depicting either Siaka and Momoh. This practice ended with the ascension of the NPRC regime and has remained so despite the return to civilian government.

Prior to June 2010, bank notes in circulation were 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10,000 leones. 10,000 leones notes were in circulation for less than ten years and were infrequently encountered. This meant that most transactions took place in bundles of 5000 leones notes.

In June 2010, the Bank of Sierra Leone issued new notes which were slightly smaller in size than the earlier series and intended to be more secure and durable. The new bank notes are: Le10,000, Le5,000, Le2,000 and Le1,000.[2] Coins are still used, but because of their low value are less common.

Because of inflation, a 20,000 leone banknote has been suggested[by whom?]. As of August 10, 2015, 20,000 leones is equivalent to about $4.94 USD.[3]

2010 Series
Image Value Dimensions Main Color Description Date of issue Date of first issue Watermark
Obverse Reverse
[1] 1000 leones 135 x 67 mm Red Bai Bureh; Coat of arms of Sierra Leone Telecommunications satellite dish 27th April 2010 May 14, 2010 Lion head and electrotype 1000
[2] 2000 leones 140 x 69 mm Brown Isaac Theophilus Akunna Wallace-Johnson, cargo ship; Coat of arms of Sierra Leone Bank of Sierra Leone building, Freetown 27th April 2010 May 14, 2010 Lion head and electrotype 2000
[3] 5000 leones 145 x 71 mm Purple Sengbe Pieh; Coat of arms of Sierra Leone Bumbuna Dam 27th April 2010 May 14, 2010 Lion head and electrotype 5000
[4] 10,000 leones 153 x 73 mm Blue and Green Dove flying over the map of Sierra Leone, Flag of Sierra Leone Cotton tree (Ceiba pentandra); Coat of arms of Sierra Leone 27th April 2010 May 14, 2010 Lion head and electrotype 10000

Specimen notes[edit]

Specimen notes are issued to banks to familiarize the local inhabitants with any currency changes. These are issued by Thomas De La Rue of the UK.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Linzmayer, Owen (2012). "Sierra Leone". The Banknote Book. San Francisco, CA: 
  2. ^ Sierra Leone resized note family confirmed Retrieved 2012-03-12.
  3. ^

External links[edit]