Twenty Leva (Gold), Coin Type from Bulgaria - detailed information

Twenty Leva (Gold), Coin Type from Bulgaria (issued 1894 - 1912)
Coin TypeTwenty Leva (Gold)

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 Twenty Leva coin was a high-value denomination at the time (normally served by a banknote), so not many of them were issued.

The coins have an edge inscription reading "БОЖЕ ПАЗИ БЪЛГАРИЯ", meaning "God save Bulgaria".

Bulgaria / Twenty Leva (Gold) - obverse photo

The coin was only issued twice, in 1894 and in 1912.

At centre, it displays the monarch's effigy surrounded by his legend.

The monarch, Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, was "Prince" in 1894 and "Tsar" (King) in 1912, so the legend changed from ФЕРДИНАНДЪ I. БЪЛГАРСКИЙ КНЯЗЪ to ФЕРДИНАНДЪ I ЦАРЬ НА БЪЛГАРИТѢ.

Obverse Inscription Legend of the ruling Bulgarian monarch
Bulgaria / Twenty Leva (Gold) - reverse photo

At centre, the reverse of the coin depicts the small version of the Coat of Arms of Bulgaria: crowned lion rampant on a shield, facing left; in 1984, the shield is ornate. On the 1912 issue, there is also an inescutcheon (small shield superimposed onto the lion) carrying the Coat of Arms of Saxony as the monarch was a member of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. 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) in 1894 or ЦАРСТВО БЪЛГАРИЯ (Kingdom of Bulgaria) in 1894.

The value and denomination 20 ЛЕВА (Twenty Leva) are divided by the Coat of Arms. Below, the date of issue.

On the 1912 issue, the Coat of Arms is flanked by a laurel branch on the left and stalks of wheat on the right. Around below, the inscription 22 · СЕПТ · 1908 (abbreviated from "22 Септември 1908") - 22 September 1908, commemorates the date of the Declaration of Independence of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire.

Reverse Inscription 20 ЛЕВА
EdgeInscribedEdge InscriptionБОЖЕ ПАЗИ БЪЛГАРИЯ
Royal Mint
Royal Mint
Twenty Leva (Gold): Details
Sub-type ofTwenty Leva (First Lev)
Face Value20 (x Lev)
CurrentNo (demonetised 1952)
Material0.900 Gold
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
OrientationCoin Alignment (Axis 6)
Size21.000 mm
Mass6.450 g
Twenty Leva (Gold): Photos
BULGARIA, Ferdinand I, twenty leva, 1894 (KM.20)
Copyright: Noble Numismatics
Notes: First reverse (1894).
Bulgaria 1912 20 leva
Copyright: CoinFactsWiki / CC BY-SA
Notes: Independence commemorative (1912).
BULGARIA, Ferdinand I, twenty leva, 1894 (KM.20)
Copyright: Noble Numismatics
Notes: Prince Ferdinand I (1894).
Bulgaria 1912 20 leva
Copyright: CoinFactsWiki / CC BY-SA
Notes: King Ferdinand I (1912).