|System||1 Leone = 100 Cents|
The Leone is the currency of Sierra Leone. It is subdivided into 100 cents. The leone was introduced on 4 August 1964. It replaced the British West African pound at a rate of 1 pound = 2 leones (i.e., 1 leone = 10 shillings).
n 1964, decimal coins were introduced in denominations of ½, 1, 5, 10 and 20 cents. The coins size and compositions were based in part on those of the former colonial state British West Africa. All bore the portrait of the first prime minister of Sierra Leone, Sir Milton Margai. In 1972, 50 cents coins were introduced which carried the portrait of the first president Dr. Siaka Stevens.
In 1974, round cupro-nickel one leone coins were introduced and in 1976, seven sided cupro-nickel 2 leone coins commemorating FAO were introduced. These latter two denominations, however, did not circulate as frequently as the lower cent denominations. The portrait of Stevens also appeared on a new, slightly smaller series of coins introduced in 1980 in denominations of ½, 1, 5, 10 and 20 cents. In 1987, octagonal, nickel-bronze 1 leone coins were introduced with a bust portrait of General Joseph Saidu Momoh. This coin effectively replaced the one leone note.
Following a period of economic collapse and the following Sierra Leone Civil War inflation became rampant, devaluing older coins. A new coin series was introduced in 1996 for 10, 50 and 100 leones. The 50 leones is octagonal while the other two are round. These coins were struck in nickel-plated steel and feature important figures in Sierra Leone's political history. Ten sided, bimetallic 500 leones coins were first introduced in 2004. Of the four coins in circulation, only the 100 leones is available in small quantity due to their low valuation and shortage of supply.