Albania / 0 Products

The Republic of Albania is a southeast European country found in the Balkans on the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. It was part of the Ottoman Empire until 1912, when it declared its independence. From its independence until 1925, Albania did not have an independent monetary system of its own. Instead, it used the Austrian krone, the French franc, the Italian lira, and the Greek drachma. 

In 1926, the lek was introduced as the first Albanian currency. It adhered to the gold standard. The first lek coins were issued in 1926. Gold lek coins came in denominations of 10, 20, 50, and 100 franga ari and portrayed King Zog on the obverse and the king’s coat of arms on the reverse. Silver lek coins came in denominations of 1, 2, and 5 franga ari and featured a helmeted goddess, King Zog, or a standing eagle in front and a prow of a ship, the king’s coat of arms, or a farmer at the back. Bronze lek coins came in denominations of 5 and 10 quindar leku while nickel coins came in ¼, ½, and 1 lek. The bronze and nickel coins depicted neoclassical motifs and mint marks. 

In 1965, the lek underwent a currency reform after the Communist Party took power. Aluminum coins were introduced in denominations of 5, 10, 20, and 50 qintars and 1 lek. These coins featured the socialist state emblem. In 1969, the 50 qintar and 1 lek coins were redesigned and showed patriotic and military images. In 1988, the coins were redesigned and the 1 lek coin was made wth aluminum-bronze. A year later, the cupro-nickel 2 lek coin was introduced. On 1 January 1992, coins lost legal tender status and the qintars were made obsolete.

In 1995 and 1996, new coins were introduced in denominations of 1 lek, 5 leke, 10 leke, 20 leke, and 50 leke, The 100 leke was later added in 2000. These coins display a pelican, an eagle, the Berat Castle, a Liburni ship, a portrait of Illyrian King Gentius, and the bust of Queen Teuta respectively. In 2001, commemorative coins were issued to celebrate Albania’s integration into the EU.

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