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Derived from the archaic Bulgarian word "lev" which means ‘lion’, the Bulgarian lev is the currency of Bulgaria, subdivided in 100 stotinki. It was introduced in 1881, at par with the French franc. Bronze coins in 2, 5, and 20 stotinki were introduced between 1881 and 1884, alongside silver 50 stotinki and 1, 2, and 5 leva. In 1888, copper-nickel coins in denominations of 2 1/2 , 5, 10, and 20 stotinki were issued, followed by gold coins in 10 and 20 leva in 1894, and a bronze 1-stotinka in 1901.

In 1930, coins of 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 leva were introduced in copper-nickel and silver. In 1937, an aluminium-bronze 50 stotinki coin was issued, followed by 20 and 50 leva in copper-nickel in 1940, and a 1, 2, 5, and 10 leva in 1941. The final coins of the first lev were issued in 1943. These were nickel-clad-steel coins in 5, 10, and 50 leva. A common design of this series is the Bulgarian coat of arms on one side and the denomination encircled with a wreath on the other side. 

The second lev was introduced in 1952, pegged to the US dollar. Coins in denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10, and 25 stotinki dated 1951 were issued in 1952. In 1959, a 50-stotinki coin was added, followed by the 1 lev coin in 1960. Featured on the obverse of these coins is also the national coat of arms. 

In 1962, the lev faced another redenomination, resulting in issuance of a new coin series. Aluminium-bronze coins were in denominations of 1, 2, and 5 stotinki, while nickel-brass coins were 10, 20 and 50 stotinki and 1 lev. These Communist period coins also depict the Bulgarian arms. Commemorative 2-leva coins were also put into circulation.

With the introduction of the fourth lev in July 1999,  new coins in  1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 stotinki denominations were being issued, featuring a Madara Horseman. This was followed by the issuance of a 1-lev coin that replaced the 1-lev banknote in 2002, featuring Bulgaria's patron saint, St. Ivan Rilsky. Finally, a 2-lev coin was issued in 2015 in lieu of the 2-lev banknote. It displays the profile of  Paisius of Hilendar.

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