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The leu (sign: L; ISO 4217 code: MDL) is the currency of Moldova. Like the Romanian leu, the Moldovan leu (plural: lei) is subdivided into 100 bani (singular: ban). The name of the currency originates from a Romanian word which means "lion".

Moldovan leu
leu moldovenesc (Romanian)
MD 100 lei av.jpg MD 1 leu av.jpg
100 Lei note obverse1 Leu note obverse
ISO 4217
Banknotes1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 lei
Coins1 (not in use), 5, 10, 25, 50 bani, 1 leu, 2 lei, 5 lei, 10 lei
User(s) Moldova (except  Transnistria)
Central bankNational Bank of Moldova
Inflation4.7%, 2018 est.



Between 1918 and 1940 and again between 1941 and 1944, when Moldova was part of Romania, the Romanian leu was used in what was then the eastern part of the broader Romanian region of Moldavia (Moldova in Romanian). The Moldovan leu was established on 29 November 1993, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the creation of the independent republic of Moldova. It replaced the temporary cupon currency at a rate of 1 leu = 1000 cupon.

In Transnistria, an unrecognized state claimed in whole by Moldova, the Transnistrian ruble is used instead. The currency is not honoured by Moldova or any other state.


In November 1993 the National Bank of Moldova (NBM) issued and put into circulation its first coins of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 bani made in aluminum and 1 and 5 lei coins made from nickel-plated steel. The 1 and 5 lei coins were later withdrawn from circulation in 1995. In 1997 the NBM announced that it would replace the existing aluminum 50 bani coin with a new one made from brass-plated steel with a new and improved design featuring anti-counterfeit elements such as reeding, a first for modern Moldovan coins. The new 50 bani coins were put into circulation starting January 1998, at the same time the NBM began withdrawing old aluminum 50 bani coins. 1 ban coins remain legal tender but are rarely used or seen in circulation, effectively leading to "Swedish rounding".[1]

In 2017 the NBM announced plans to reintroduce 1 and 5 lei coins alongside with new 2 and 10 lei coins citing "superior durability and cheaper manufacturing and maintenance cost over time compared to banknotes" as the main reason and asking people to submit their designs for the new coins.[2] The design of the new coins was unveiled on February 28th, 2018 featuring elements of both the coat of arms of the Principality of Moldavia on the obverse and the coat of arms of the Republic of Moldova on the reverse, with 1 and 2 lei coins being made from nickel-plated steel and 5 and 10 lei coins featuring a bi-metallic design with elements made from nickel-plated steel and brass-plated steel.[3] The new coins were put into circulation starting February 28th, 2018.[4] All of the new Lei coins are currently intended to be used alongside banknotes of equal value.

Since 1996 several commemorative coins for collectors have been issued. A complete listing can be found here.

class="coin-silver-color" style="background:#DCDCDC;" bgcolor="#ffe550"
Currently circulating coins[5]
Image Value Technical parameters Description Date of
Diameter Thickness Mass Composition Edge Obverse Reverse First minting First issue
  1 ban 14.5 mm 1.7 mm 0.67 g Aluminum Plain Coat of arms, country name Denomination, year of minting 1993 November 1993
  5 bani 16 mm 1.6 mm 0.75 g
  10 bani 16.6 mm 1.65 mm 0.85 g
  25 bani 17.5 mm 1.7 mm 0.95 g
  50 bani 19 mm 1.8 mm 3.1 g Brass-plated steel Reeded Coat of arms, country name Grapevine with grapes and leaves, denomination, year of minting 1997 January 1998
  1 leu 21.5 mm 1.8 mm 4.45 g Nickel-plated steel Segmented (Plain and reeded sections (3 groups)) Female-faced crescent, part of an aurochs' head, coat of arms, state title Denomination, year of minting, the letters "R" and "M" in latent image, and part of the coat of arms on the background 2018 April 2018
  2 lei 23.7 mm 2.2 mm 6.7 g Reeded Male-faced Sun, part of an aurochs' head, coat of arms, state title
  5 lei 24.4 mm 2.25 mm 7.1 g Center plug: Nickel-plated steel
Outer ring: Brass-plated steel
Segmented (Plain and reeded sections (5 groups)) The horns of an aurochs' (part of its head), surmounted by an open crown, an eight pointed star between the horns, a heraldic rose, coat of arms, state title early 2019
  10 lei 25.3 mm 2.3 mm 7.65 g Center plug: Brass-plated steel
Outer ring: Nickel-plated steel
Reeded with inscription: Reeded, "MOLDOVA*MOLDOVA*" Personal coat of arms of Stephen the Great, part of an aurochs' head, coat of arms, state title


There have been two series of Moldovan leu banknotes. The first series was short-lived and only included 1, 5, and 10 lei. The front of all of these notes—and all subsequent notes—feature a portrait of Ștefan cel Mare (Stephen the Great, also known as Stephen III of Moldavia), the prince of Moldavia from 1457 to 1504. The first two lines of the Miorița (The Little Ewe) ballad appear on the back, printed vertically between the denomination numeral and the vignette of the fortress. The Miorița is an old Romanian pastoral ballad considered one of the most important pieces of Romanian folklore. The lines “Pe-un picior de plai, Pe-o gură de rai” translate as “Near a low foothill, at Heaven’s doorsill.”

Second Series
Image Value Dimensions Main Colour Description Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse Watermark first printing issue
    1 leu 114 × 58 mm Yellow Stephen III Căpriana monastery As portrait 1994 May 1994
    5 lei Cyan St. Dumitru Church, Orhei April 1994
    10 lei 121 × 61 mm Red Hârjauca monastery May 1994
    20 lei Green Soroca Fort 1992 November 1993
    50 lei Pink Hârbovăț monastery May 1994
    100 lei Orange Tighina Fort September 1995
    200 lei 133 × 66 mm Purple Chișinău City Hall
    500 lei Orange and green Chișinău Cathedral December 1999
    1000 lei Blue Presidential Palace October 2003
For table standards, see the banknote specification table.

Exchange ratesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Moneda metalică cu valoarea nominală de 1 ban este mijloc legal de plată?" (in Romanian). National Bank of Moldova. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  2. ^ "BNM invită cetățenii să prezinte concepte pentru designul monedelor de 1 leu și 2 lei" (in Romanian). National Bank of Moldova. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Eveniment de lansare a unei serii noi de monede metalice" (in Romanian). National Bank of Moldova. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Din 28 februarie 2018, BNM pune în circulație noi monede metalice: de 1, 2, 5 și 10 lei" (in Romanian). National Bank of Moldova. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Monede în circulație" (in Romanian). National Bank of Moldova. Retrieved 28 March 2018.

External linksEdit