The Lev (Bulgarian: лев, plural: лева, левове / leva, levove) is the currency of Bulgaria. In archaic Bulgarian the word "lev" meant "lion", a word which in the modern language became lăv (in Bulgarian: лъв). The Lev is divided in 100 Stotinki (стотинки, singular: stotinka, стотинка).
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. Thus, a Ten Leva coin was a relatively high-value denomination at the time and was normally served by a banknote. A gold 10 Leva coin was issued only once, as part of a three-coin series including also a gold 20 Leva and gold 100 Leva.
Bulgaria was a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire at the time, so the monarch is styled Prince and not Tsar as on his later coinage.
The obverse of the coin shows, within a beaded border, the effigy of Prince Ferdinand I of Bulgaria facing left (portrait by Аnton Scharff). The artist's initials A.S. are in small letters under the truncation of the neck.
Around, the monarch's legend in old Bulgarian orthography: ФЕРДИНАНДЪ I. БЪЛГАРСКИЙ КНЯЗЪ (Ferdinand the First, Bulgarian Prince).
Below, К.Б. - the Cyrillic script version of the K.B. mint mark of the Kremnitz Mint (abbreviated from Hungarian Körmöcz-Bánya or German Kremnitz-Bergstadt).
At centre, the reverse of the coin depicts the small version of the Coat of Arms of Bulgaria: crowned lion rampant on an ornate shield, facing left. The shield is crowned with the large Diamond Crown of Bulgaria.
The crown originally belonged to Queen Marie Antoinette of France and was given to Princess Clémentine of Orléans as a dowry together with a golden carriage also belonging to Marie Antoinette. Both of those items ended in the possession of the Bulgarian Royal Family. The crown was modified to replace the French Fleur-de-lis to a Bulgarian ball with a cross on top.
Around above, interrupted by the cross on top of the crown, the inscription КНЯЖЕСТВО БЪЛГАРИЯ (Principality of Bulgaria).
The value and denomination 10 ЛЕВА (Ten Leva) are divided by the Coat of Arms.
Below, the date of issue surrounded by two five-pointed stars: * 1894 *.