Bulgaria: Coins Issued and Used

Showing only circulating coin types (regular coinage plus circulating commemoratives).

Bulgaria (1878 - )
Information about what currencies were issued by Bulgaria, with lists of coinage, as well as periods when foreign-issued currencies were used.
Currency: Lev. Used in Bulgaria: (1881 - 1952)
CurrencyLev
PeriodBulgarian Lev (First Lev)
Used1881 - 1952
Description

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) (demonetised 1952)
5 coins (1894 - 1937)
Fifty Leva (First Lev) (demonetised 1952)
4 coins (1930 - 1943)
Coin NameMintage
Fifty Leva 1930 9,028,000
Fifty Leva 1934 3,000,958
Fifty Leva 1940 12,340,000
Fifty Leva 1943 15,000,000
Twenty Leva (First Lev) (demonetised 1952)
4 coins (1894 - 1940)
Coin NameMintage
Twenty Leva 1894 100,000
Twenty Leva 1912 75,000
Twenty Leva 1930 10,015,982
Twenty Leva 1940 6,650,000
Ten Leva (First Lev) (demonetised 1952)
4 coins (1894 - 1943)
Coin NameMintage
Ten Leva 1894 75,000
Ten Leva 1930 15,001,000
Ten Leva 1941 2,200,000
Ten Leva 1943 25,000,000
Five Leva (First Lev) (demonetised 1952)
7 coins (1884 - 1943)
Coin NameMintage
Five Leva 1884 512,473
Five Leva 1885 1,426,000
Five Leva 1892 1,001,375
Five Leva 1894 1,800,000
Five Leva 1930 20,001,000
Five Leva 1941 15,000,000
Five Leva 1943 36,000,000
Two Leva (First Lev) (demonetised 1952)
11 coins (1882 - 1943)
Coin NameMintage
Two Leva 1882 2,000,000
Two Leva 1891 1,500,000
Two Leva 1894 1,000,000
Two Leva 1910 400,000
Two Leva 1912 1,000,000
Two Leva 1913 500,000
Two Leva 1916 2,286,008
Two Leva 1923 20,000,000
Two Leva 1925 40,000,124
Two Leva 1941 15,000,000
Two Leva 1943 35,000,000
One Lev (First Lev) (demonetised 1952)
10 coins (1882 - 1941)
Coin NameMintage
One Lev 1882 4,500,015
One Lev 1891 4,000,000
One Lev 1894 1,000,013
One Lev 1910 3,000,000
One Lev 1912 2,000,000
One Lev 1913 3,500,000
One Lev 1916 4,568,696
One Lev 1923 40,000,000
One Lev 1925 69,982,289
One Lev 1941 10,000,000
Fifty Stotinki (First Lev) (demonetised 1952)
7 coins (1883 - 1937)
Coin NameMintage
Fifty Stotinki 1883 3,000,000
Fifty Stotinki 1891 2,000,000
Fifty Stotinki 1910 400,000
Fifty Stotinki 1912 2,000,000
Fifty Stotinki 1913 3,000,000
Fifty Stotinki 1916 4,562,051
Fifty Stotinki 1937 60,200,000
Twenty Stotinki (First Lev) (demonetised 1952)
5 coins (1888 - 1917)
Coin NameMintage
Twenty Stotinki 1888 5,000,000
Twenty Stotinki 1906 10,000,000
Twenty Stotinki 1912 10,000,000
Twenty Stotinki 1913 5,000,000
Twenty Stotinki 1917 40,000,000
Ten Stotinki (First Lev) (demonetised 1952)
6 coins (1881 - 1917)
Coin NameMintage
Ten Stotinki 1881 15,000,000
Ten Stotinki 1888 10,000,000
Ten Stotinki 1906 13,000,000
Ten Stotinki 1912 13,000,000
Ten Stotinki 1913 20,000,000
Ten Stotinki 1917 59,100,000
Five Stotinki (First Lev) (demonetised 1952)
6 coins (1881 - 1917)
Coin NameMintage
Five Stotinki 1881 10,000,000
Five Stotinki 1888 14,000,000
Five Stotinki 1906 14,000,000
Five Stotinki 1912 14,000,000
Five Stotinki 1913 20,000,000
Five Stotinki 1917 53,200,000
Two and a Half Stotinki (First Lev) (demonetised 1952)
1 coin (1888)
Coin NameMintage
Two and a Half Stotinki 1888 11,646,666
Two Stotinki (First Lev) (demonetised 1952)
3 coins (1881 - 1912)
Coin NameMintage
Two Stotinki 1881 4,996,345
Two Stotinki 1901 40,000,000
Two Stotinki 1912 40,000,000
One Stotinka (First Lev) (demonetised 1952)
2 coins (1901 - 1912)
Coin NameMintage
One Stotinka 1901 20,000,000
One Stotinka 1912 20,000,000
Currency: Lev. Used in Bulgaria: (1952 - 1962)
CurrencyLev
PeriodBulgarian Lev (Second Lev)
Used1952 - 1962
Description

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) (demonetised 1962)
1 coin (1960)
Coin NameMintage
One Lev 1960 unknown
Fifty Stotinki (Second Lev) (demonetised 1962)
1 coin (1959)
Coin NameMintage
Fifty Stotinki 1959 unknown
Twenty Five Stotinki (Second Lev) (demonetised 1962)
1 coin (1951)
Coin NameMintage
Twenty Five Stotinki 1951 unknown
Twenty Stotinki (Second Lev) (demonetised 1962)
2 coins (1952 - 1954)
Coin NameMintage
Twenty Stotinki 1952 unknown
Twenty Stotinki 1954 unknown
Ten Stotinki (Second Lev) (demonetised 1962)
1 coin (1951)
Coin NameMintage
Ten Stotinki 1951 unknown
Five Stotinki (Second Lev) (demonetised 1962)
1 coin (1951)
Coin NameMintage
Five Stotinki 1951 unknown
Three Stotinki (Second Lev) (demonetised 1962)
1 coin (1951)
Coin NameMintage
Three Stotinki 1951 unknown
One Stotinka (Second Lev) (demonetised 1962)
1 coin (1951)
Coin NameMintage
One Stotinka 1951 unknown
Currency: Lev. Used in Bulgaria: (1962 - 1999)
CurrencyLev
PeriodBulgarian Lev (Third Lev)
Used1962 - 1999
Description

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.

One Lev (Third Lev) (demonetised 1999)
7 coins (1962 - 1990)
Coin NameMintage
One Lev 1962 unknown
One Lev 1979 (Proof only) 2,000
One Lev 1980 (Proof only) 2,000
One Lev 1981 unknown
One Lev 1988 unknown
One Lev 1989 unknown
One Lev 1990 unknown
Fifty Stotinki (Third Lev) (demonetised 1999)
9 coins (1962 - 1990)
Twenty Stotinki (Third Lev) (demonetised 1999)
8 coins (1962 - 1990)
Ten Stotinki (Third Lev) (demonetised 1999)
8 coins (1962 - 1990)
Five Stotinki (Third Lev) (demonetised 1999)
8 coins (1962 - 1990)
Two Stotinki (Third Lev) (demonetised 1999)
8 coins (1962 - 1990)
One Stotinka (Third Lev) (demonetised 1999)
9 coins (1962 - 1990)
Currency: Lev. Used in Bulgaria: (1999 - present)
CurrencyLev
PeriodBulgarian Lev (Fourth Lev)
Used1999 - present
Description

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.

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