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The leu (plural: lei, ISO 4217 code ROL) is the national currency of Romania and has been since the founding of the National Bank of Romania in 1880.

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In the 17th century, Dutch thalers bearing a lion circulated in the Romanian states were often called lei (lions). The name was kept as a generic term for money until it became in the 19th century the national currency.


After the Crimean War, a bimetallic currency was adopted, with the lei (franc) of 100 bani (centimes) as the unit of value. But after 1878 the Russian silver Rouble[?] was rated so highly as to drive the native coins out of circulation; and in 1889 Romania joined the Latin Monetary Union and adopted a gold standard. Besides the silver pieces worth 3/4, 1, 2 and 5 lei, gold coins of 5, 10 and 20 ley were used. Silver was legal tender only up to 50 lei. All taxes and customs dues were to be paid in gold, and, owing to the small quantities issued from the Rumanian mint, foreign gold were current, especially French 20-franc pieces (equal at par to 20 lei), Turkish gold lire (22.70), Old Russian Imperials (20.60) and English Sovereigns of (25.22). Besides bronze coins of less value than 1/2 tell, nickel pieces worth 5, 10 and 20 bani were authorized by a law of 1900.

Current legal tender

As of June 2003, the following notes and coins are in circulation:

  • coins: 500 lei; 1000 lei; 5,000 lei
  • notes: 2,000 lei; 10,000 lei; 50,000 lei; 100,000 lei; 500,000 lei

The exchange rate is (as of July 2003): 1 € = 38,000 lei; 1 US$ = 33,000 lei

External links

  • www.bnro.ro (http://www.bnro.ro/) - Banca Naţională a Romāniei (National Bank of Romania)

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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