Romania is spanning at the crossroads of Southeastern, Eastern, and Central Europe bordered by Ukraine to the north, Serbia to the southwest, Bulgaria to the south, Hungary to the west, and Moldova to the east. It is the twelfth-largest country in Europe with a terrain of hills, mountains, and plains. It also has access to the Black Sea. Romania’s economy is one of the fastest-growing European Union countries. The country has been using the leu and its sub-unit “ban” as its legal tender since 1867. The leu has four series. Early notes of the country mostly have monochromatic color schemes and feature the Roman Emperor Trajan on the watermark.
Romania revalued its currency on August 15, 1947, replacing the old leu with the new leu banknotes, without prior notice. On December 30, 1947, King Michael was forced to step down and the country was renamed the People’s Republic of Romania. In less than 5 years, another currency revaluation took place, still without prior warning. A new set of notes was issued when the Banca Republicii Populare Romane was renamed to the National Bank of the Socialist Republic of Romania. In 1992, banknotes were issued featuring the new coat of arms which was redesigned by Victor Dima. Inspired by the Lesser coat of arms of the Kingdom of Romania, which was used on notes issued between 1922 and 1947, the new national emblem bears an eagle with a cross in its beak, wearing a shield on its chest, and a sword and a mace in its claws.
In 2005, the first issues of the fourth leu were introduced in the same size as the euro banknotes. The obverse design of each note depicts Romanian flora and a portrait of a prominent Romanian personality while the reverse displays either a famous monument or architecture. Finally, on December 21, 2017, the National Bank of Romania declared that all of its notes will highlight the new emblem effective at the beginning of January 2018.