The first I learned anything about Albania was during a 1985 episode of the much beloved sitcom Cheers. Coach teaches Sam a little bit about Albania. I don’t know why, but, during the episode, Coach sang a song about Albania that went like this:

Albania, Albania

You border on the Adriatic

Your land is mostly moun-tain-ous

And your chief export is krill

I am sure there was more but, that is all I remember. Anytime I hear Albania, I hear that song. With that in mind, let’s turn to Albanian banknotes.

Albania, Albania

Your cash is called the Leke

De La Rue prints your banknotes

And you use both types of substrate.

Tirana, Capital of Albania. City Center.
Tirana, Capital of Albania
Source: Travelling Balkans

That is about all I can do.  Back to prose.

Albania Brief History

Albanian 1 Lek, 1964 from their communist era
Albanian 1 Lek | 1964 | P-33a |
Source: Banknote World Educational

Albania is located just north of Greece. As a result, its culture has a long history and is based on many influences. This can be seen in its banknotes. For example, the 2007, 1,000 Leke (P-73) shows an ancient Christian church on the reverse and Petar Bogdan, a 17th century Albanian writer. Likewise, the 2017, 5,000 Leke (P-80) has Skanderbeg, a nobleman who fought against the Ottoman Empire, and an image of a castle. These images are focused on the history of the country. But from 1946 – 1993 Albania was a communist country. The banknotes at that time focused on the average person happily working in support of the country. For example, the 1 Leke (P-33) showed a peasant couple overlooking a farm and the 100 Leke (P-39) has a father showing his son a hydroelectric dam. This series is also interesting because it has a 3 Leke, one of the few circulation notes with that value. 

Albanian 1,000 Leke Banknote, 2007
Albanian 1,000 Leke‏ | P-73bs | 2007 |
Source: Banknote World Educational

The Leke was named after Alexander the Great. His likeness is on the 1 Leke coin. Also interesting is that even though Albania was a founding member of the Warsaw Pact after World War 2, it split from the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia and allied itself with Communist China. Albanian banknotes after World War 2 were printed in China. 

Albanian 1 Lek | Nickel Coin |
Source: Numista

In conclusion, I don’t know if Sam from Cheers knew any of these facts about Albania or even cared about their banknotes. However, I am sure Coach would be proud that we are still singing his song to see Banknote World’s Albanian Banknotes, click here.

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