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We know of 4 currency periods in Bulgaria, being:

Bulgarian Lev (First Lev) (1881 - 1952)
     

The lev was introduced as Bulgaria's currency in 1881 with a value equal to the French franc. The gold standard was suspended between 1899 and 1906 and suspended again in 1912. Until 1916, Bulgaria's silver and gold coins were issued to the same specifications as those of the Latin Monetary Union. Banknotes issued until 1928 were backed by gold ("leva zlato" or "zlatni", "лева злато" or "златни") or silver ("leva srebro" or "srebarni", "лева сребро" or "сребърни").

In 1928, a new gold standard of 1 lev = 10.86956 mg gold was established.

During World War II, in 1940, the lev was pegged to the German Reichsmark at a rate of 32.75 leva = 1 Reichsmark. With the Soviet occupation in September 1944, the lev was pegged to the Soviet ruble at 15 leva = 1 ruble. A series of pegs to the U.S. dollar followed: 120 leva = 1 dollar in October 1945, 286.50 leva in December 1945 and 143.25 leva in March 1947. No coins were issued after 1943; only banknotes were issued until the currency reform of 1952.

One Hundred Leva (First Lev) 1894 - 1937
  One Hundred Leva 1894
  One Hundred Leva 1912
  One Hundred Leva 1930
  One Hundred Leva 1934
  One Hundred Leva 1937

Fifty Leva (First Lev) 1930 - 1943
  Fifty Leva 1930
  Fifty Leva 1934
  Fifty Leva 1940
  Fifty Leva 1943

Twenty Leva (First Lev) 1894 - 1940
  Twenty Leva 1894
  Twenty Leva 1912
  Twenty Leva 1930
  Twenty Leva 1940

Ten Leva (First Lev) 1894 - 1943
  Ten Leva 1894
  Ten Leva 1930
  Ten Leva 1941
  Ten Leva 1943

Five Leva (First Lev) 1884 - 1943
  Five Leva 1884
  Five Leva 1885
  Five Leva 1892
  Five Leva 1894
  Five Leva 1930
  Five Leva 1941
  Five Leva 1943

Two Leva (First Lev) 1882 - 1943
  Two Leva 1882
  Two Leva 1891
  Two Leva 1894
  Two Leva 1910
  Two Leva 1912
  Two Leva 1913
  Two Leva 1916
  Two Leva 1923
  Two Leva 1925
  Two Leva 1941
  Two Leva 1943

One Lev (First Lev) 1882 - 1941
  One Lev 1882
  One Lev 1891
  One Lev 1894
  One Lev 1910
  One Lev 1912
  One Lev 1913
  One Lev 1916
  One Lev 1923
  One Lev 1925
  One Lev 1941

Fifty Stotinki (First Lev) 1883 - 1937
  Fifty Stotinki 1883
  Fifty Stotinki 1891
  Fifty Stotinki 1910
  Fifty Stotinki 1912
  Fifty Stotinki 1913
  Fifty Stotinki 1916
  Fifty Stotinki 1937

Twenty Stotinki (First Lev) 1888 - 1917
  Twenty Stotinki 1888
  Twenty Stotinki 1906
  Twenty Stotinki 1912
  Twenty Stotinki 1913
  Twenty Stotinki 1917

Ten Stotinki (First Lev) 1881 - 1917
  Ten Stotinki 1881
  Ten Stotinki 1888
  Ten Stotinki 1906
  Ten Stotinki 1912
  Ten Stotinki 1913
  Ten Stotinki 1917

Five Stotinki (First Lev) 1881 - 1917
  Five Stotinki 1881
  Five Stotinki 1888
  Five Stotinki 1906
  Five Stotinki 1912
  Five Stotinki 1913
  Five Stotinki 1917

Two and a Half Stotinki (First Lev) 1888 - 1888
  Two and a Half Stotinki 1888

Two Stotinki (First Lev) 1881 - 1912
  Two Stotinki 1881
  Two Stotinki 1901
  Two Stotinki 1912

One Stotinka (First Lev) 1901 - 1912
  One Stotinka 1901
  One Stotinka 1912


Bulgarian Lev (Second Lev) (1952 - 1962)
     

In 1952, following wartime inflation, a new lev replaced the original lev at a rate of 1 "new" lev = 100 "old" leva. However the rate for banking accounts was different, ranging from 100:3 to 200:1. Prices for goods were replaced at a rate of 25:1. The new lev was pegged to the U.S. dollar at a rate of 6.8 leva = 1 dollar, falling to 9.52 leva on July 29, 1957.

In 1952, coins (dated 1951) were introduced in denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10 and 25 stotinki, with the lower three denominations in brass and the higher three in cupro-nickel. Shortly after, cupro-nickel 20 stotinki coins dated 1952 were also issued, followed by 50 stotinki in 1959 and 1 lev in 1960 which replaced the 1 lev note (both also in cupro-nickel). All stotinki coins feature a head of wheat around denomination on the reverse and state emblem on the obverse, while the lev coin depicts an olive branch wreath around the denomination.

In 1952, state notes (dated 1951) were issued in 1, 3 and 5 leva, together with notes of the National Bank for 10, 25, 50, 100 and 200 leva. 500-lev notes were printed but not issued. 1 lev notes were withdrawn after the introduction of a coin in 1960. 1, 3, and 5 leva depict the state emblem, while all denominations 10 leva and up depict Georgi Dimitrov, who had a postmortem cult of personality built up around him by that time period. The reverse side of 1, 3, and 5 lev notes depict hands holding up the hammer and sickle, while higher denominations each depict workers at various trades.

One Lev (Second Lev) 1960 - 1960
  One Lev 1960

Fifty Stotinki (Second Lev) 1959 - 1959
  Fifty Stotinki 1959

Twenty Five Stotinki (Second Lev) 1951 - 1951
  Twenty Five Stotinki 1951

Twenty Stotinki (Second Lev) 1952 - 1954
  Twenty Stotinki 1952
  Twenty Stotinki 1954

Ten Stotinki (Second Lev) 1951 - 1951
  Ten Stotinki 1951

Five Stotinki (Second Lev) 1951 - 1951
  Five Stotinki 1951

Three Stotinki (Second Lev) 1951 - 1951
  Three Stotinki 1951

One Stotinka (Second Lev) 1951 - 1951
  One Stotinka 1951


Bulgarian Lev (Third Lev) (1962 - 1999)
     

In 1962, another redenomination took place at the rate of 10 to 1, setting the exchange rate at 1.17 leva = 1 U. S. dollar, with the tourist rate falling to 2 leva on February 1, 1964. The ISO 4217 code was BGL. After this, the lev remained fairly stable for almost three decades.

In 1962, aluminum-bronze 1, 2, and 5 stotinki, and nickel-brass 10, 20 and 50 stotinki and 1 lev were introduced. The coin series strongly resembles coinage from the Soviet Union during the same period, particularly in design and size. However, the Soviet-influenced denominations of 3 and 25 stotinki were abandoned.

The state emblem is depicted on the obverse of all coins, which went through several changes. The first change in 1962 with the introduction of the new coinage, and the second change in 1974, with the ribbons being the most noticeable change.

A number of commemorative 2 lev coins also circulated during this period, often released into circulation as they had relatively high production numbers and little collector's value. Higher denomination lev coins have also been introduced into circulation at an irregular basis with varying sizes and metallic compositions, including silver.

In 1992, after the communist era, older coins were withdrawn and a new coinage was introduced in denominations of 10, 20 and 50 stotinki, 1, 2, 5 and 10 leva. All were struck in nickel-brass except for the cupro-nickel 10 leva. In 1997, nickel-brass 10, 20 and 50 leva were introduced.

In 1962, the National Bank issued notes for 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 leva. A second series, in the same denominations, was issued in 1974. 50 leva notes were introduced in 1990. Again, denominations 10 leva and up featured Georgi Dimitrov, 1, 2, and 5 featured the state emblem. After the fall of the communist regime, new notes were introduced for 20, 50, 100 and 200 leva. These were followed by 500 leva notes in 1993, 1000 and 2000 leva in 1994, 5000 and 10,000 leva in 1996, and 50,000 leva in 1997.

Fifty Leva (Third Lev) 1989 - 1989

Twenty Leva (Third Lev) 1989 - 1989

Ten Leva (Third Lev) 1963 - 1990

Five Leva (Third Lev) 1963 - 1990

Two Leva (Third Lev, Circulating Commemorative) 1968 - 1976

One Lev (Third Lev) 1962 - 1990
  One Lev 1962
  One Lev 1979 (Proof only)
  One Lev 1980 (Proof only)
  One Lev 1981
  One Lev 1988
  One Lev 1989
  One Lev 1990

Fifty Stotinki (Third Lev) 1962 - 1990
  Fifty Stotinki 1962
  Fifty Stotinki 1974
  Fifty Stotinki 1977
  Fifty Stotinki 1979 (Proof only)
  Fifty Stotinki 1980 (Proof only)
  Fifty Stotinki 1981
  Fifty Stotinki 1988
  Fifty Stotinki 1989
  Fifty Stotinki 1990

Twenty Stotinki (Third Lev) 1962 - 1990
  Twenty Stotinki 1962
  Twenty Stotinki 1974
  Twenty Stotinki 1979 (Proof only)
  Twenty Stotinki 1980 (Proof only)
  Twenty Stotinki 1981
  Twenty Stotinki 1988
  Twenty Stotinki 1989
  Twenty Stotinki 1990

Ten Stotinki (Third Lev) 1962 - 1990
  Ten Stotinki 1962
  Ten Stotinki 1974
  Ten Stotinki 1979 (Proof only)
  Ten Stotinki 1980 (Proof only)
  Ten Stotinki 1981
  Ten Stotinki 1988
  Ten Stotinki 1989
  Ten Stotinki 1990

Five Stotinki (Third Lev) 1962 - 1990
  Five Stotinki 1962
  Five Stotinki 1974
  Five Stotinki 1979 (Proof only)
  Five Stotinki 1980 (Proof only)
  Five Stotinki 1981
  Five Stotinki 1988
  Five Stotinki 1989
  Five Stotinki 1990

Two Stotinki (Third Lev) 1962 - 1990
  Two Stotinki 1962
  Two Stotinki 1974
  Two Stotinki 1979 (Proof only)
  Two Stotinki 1980 (Proof only)
  Two Stotinki 1981
  Two Stotinki 1988
  Two Stotinki 1989
  Two Stotinki 1990

One Stotinka (Third Lev) 1962 - 1990
  One Stotinka 1962
  One Stotinka 1970
  One Stotinka 1974
  One Stotinka 1979 (Proof only)
  One Stotinka 1980 (Proof only)
  One Stotinka 1981
  One Stotinka 1988
  One Stotinka 1989
  One Stotinka 1990

Two Leva (Third Lev, Non-circulating Commemorative) 1963 - 1989


Bulgarian Lev (Fourth Lev) (1999 - )
     

On 5 July 1999 the lev was redenominated at 1000:1 with 1 new lev equal to 1 Deutsche Mark. The ISO 4217 currency code for the new Bulgarian lev is BGN. The currency was no longer backed by gold and silver; thus the banknotes lost the text stating the lev's backing by gold or bank assets.

In 1999, coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 stotinki were introduced. A 1 lev coin in 2002 replaced the 1 lev banknote introduced in 1999. In November 2014 it was announced that coins of 2 leva to replace banknotes of the same value are to be introduced in 2015.

In 2004, 2005 and 2007 commemorative circulation issues were struck of the 50 stotinki coin. Also many commercial commemorative coins have been minted.

In 1999, banknotes were introduced in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 leva. 100 leva notes were added in 2003. The 1 lev note has been nearly completely replaced in everyday use by the 1 lev coin. The 2 leva note was replaced in everyday use by a coin in 2016.