Alexander the Great on the first Albanian
The lek (Albanian: Leku Shqiptar; plural lekë) (sign: L; code: ALL) is the official currency of Albania. It is subdivided into 100 qindarka (singular qindarkë), although qindarka are no longer issued.
Introduced in 1926 by King Ahmet Zogu, the First Lek was named after Alexander the Great. In the front of 1 Lek was the portrait of Alexander the Great and reverse was Alexander on his horse. An other option was that is was named after the Albanian feudal Lekë Dukagjini. The name qindarkë comes from the Albanian qind, meaning one hundred. Qindarkë thus carries the same meaning as centime, cent, centesimo, stotinka, eurocent, etc.
In 1926, bronze coins were introduced in denominations of 5 and 10 qindar leku, together with nickel ¼, ½ and 1 lek, and silver 1, 2 and 5 franga ar. In 1935, bronze 1 and 2 qindar were issued, equal in value to the 5 and 10 qindar leku.
After the Italian occupation, stainless-steel 0.20, 0.50, 1 and 2 lek and silver 5 and 10 lek were introduced, with the silver coins only issued that year but aluminium-bronze 0.05 and 0.10 lek introduced in 1940. These coins were issued until 1941.
In 1947, a new coinage was introduced, consisting of zinc ½, 1, 2 and 5 lekë. This coinage was again minted in 1957 and used until the currency reform of 1965.
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