Our Banknote catalog of Albania.
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.
The lek was named after Alexander the Great, whose name is often shortened to Leka in Albanian. Alexander's portrait appeared on the obverse of the 1 lek coin, while the reverse showed him on his horse.
The name qindarkë comes from the Albanian qind, meaning one hundred. The word is thus similar in formation to centime, cent, etc.
Between 1926 and 1939 the name Franga was used for Albanian gold currency worth five Albanian Leke for use in international transactions. A similar alternate name Belga was used for units of five Belgian francs.
In 1926, the National Bank of Albania (Banka Kombëtare e Shqipnis) introduced notes in denominations of 1, 5, 20 and 100 franka ari. In 1939, notes were issued denominated as 5 and 20 franga. These were followed in 1944 with notes for 2, 5 and 10 lek and 100 franga.
In 1945, the People's Bank of Albania (Banka e Shtetit Shqiptar) issued overprints on National Bank notes for 10 lek, 20 and 100 franga. Regular notes were also issued in 1945 in denominations of 1, 5, 20, 100 and 500 franga. In 1947, the lek was adopted as the main denominations, with notes issued for 10, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 lekë.
In 1965, notes (dated 1964) were introduced by the Banka e Shtetit Shqiptar in denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 lekë. A second series of notes was issued in 1976 when the country changed its name to the People's Socialist Republic.
500 lekë notes were introduced on 28 June 1991, followed by denominations of 200 and 1000 lekë on 1 October 1992.