Currency Wiki
1 ban
Coins of Romania 1 Ban 2005
Coin from 2005
General information

Flag of Romania Romania
Flag of Romania (1965-1989) Communist Romania
Flag of Romania Kingdom of Romania
Flag of the United Principalities of Romania (1862 - 1866) United Principalities


0.01 lei



Measurements and composition
  • 1 g (1867, 1900, 1952-1954)
  • 2.4 g (2005-present)
  • 15 mm (1867, 1900)
  • 16 mm (1952-1954)
  • 16.75 mm (2005-present)

1.6 mm (2005-present)

  • bronze (1867)
  • copper (1900)
  • copper-nickel-zinc (1952-1954)
  • brass plated steel (2005-present)


  • coin (1867, 1900, 1952-1954)
  • medallic (2005-present)

Coat of arms of Romania, state title

  • Value (1867; 1952-1954; 2005-present)
  • Carol I (1900)
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The 1 ban coin is a piece that has been produced by the United Principalities, Kingdom of Romania, Romanian People's Republic, and modern Romania in various types from 1867 to the present. In 1867, circulation 1 banu pieces were produced at the Heaton's Mint and by Watt & Co. for the United Principalities, under authorization from Domnitor Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1839–1914) and Ottoman authorities. Patterns denominated at "1 ban" were also produced but never put into circulation. After Karl became King Carol I of Romania, unissued presentation pieces were made in 1883 and 1888 for Queen Elisabeth (1843–1916), Carol's wife. The designs of these presentation pieces would eventually be used for a circulation coin of Carol issued in 1900, produced at the Hamburg Mint in Germany. One ban pieces would not be issued again until the period from 1952 to 1954, following the abolition of the Romanian monarchy and the establishment of the communist Romanian People's Republic. Such coins were minted at Moscow and then at Bucharest. In 2005, several years after the fall of communism in Romania, a new 1 ban coin was introduced. it has been issued annually to the present and is likely to remain in circulation until Romania's planned adoption of the euro in the future.

The current 1 ban piece has a legal tender face value equivalent to 0.01 lei, and continues to circulate as the lowest-denominated coin in Romania, albeit not frequently. All of the earlier coins have been demonetized and stripped of their legal tender values, now only holding value to collectors.


Circulation "banu" piece (1867)[]

Romania 1 banu 1867

An 1867-H 1 banu piece

The area of Romania had been a vassal of the Ottoman Empire as early as the 14th century, and during this era of Turkish suzerainty, Ottoman coinage was prevalent in the region. Proposals to Ottoman authorities for a separate currency in Romania were made by Domnitor Alexandru Ioan Cuza (1820–1873) as early as 1860, but these requests ultimately fell on deaf ears. It was not until Cuza's successor, Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, that the issuance of a Romanian currency was authorized. Production of coins of the newly created leu currency began in 1867, with Domnitor Karl utilizing the services of Heaton's Mint and Watt & Co. in Birmingham, England. All of such coins were designed by British engraver Leonard Charles Wyon (1826–1891), son of renowned artist William Wyon (1795–1851). The 1 banu piece produced is composed of bronze (95% copper, 4% tin, and 1% zinc) and has a mass of 1 gram and a diameter of 15 millimeters. It has coin alignment and a plain edge, and like most coins, is round in shape.

Displayed in the center of the obverse is the coat of arms of the United Principalities – which consists of a large, crowned escutcheon containing an eagle with a cross in its mouth, for Wallachia, in the first and fourth quarters, the head of an aurochs (†Bos taurus primigenius), for Moldavia, in the second and third quarters, and the arms of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in the center. This escutcheon is supported to the left by a Dacian woman holding a sword and to the right by a lion, and underneath it is a scroll bearing the Latin motto of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen: "NIHIL SINE DEO" (English: "Nothing without God"). Behind the arms is a mantle surmounted by a crown. The word "ROMANIA" is arched in a clockwise direction along the upper periphery of the piece, above the arms. Inscribed in the middle of the reverse is the face value "1 BANU", with the numeral and the word printed on separate lines. The date "1867" is printed below "BANU" in a relatively smaller font. Engraved around the rim of the reverse is a wreath consisting of two oak branches tied together at the ends with a ribbon. At the bottom of the piece, below the ribbon in the wreath, is the mint mark of the entity that produced the coin. Pieces made at Heaton's Mint bear a small "H", whereas those coined by Watt & Co. display a small "WATT & C" on two lines. The rims of both sides of the coin are raised and decorated with a beaded (pearl) border.

In total, a little over 5,000,000 examples of the 1 banu coin were produced; about 2,500,000 were made at each of the two mints. Both the Heaton's Mint and Watt & Co. also struck a small number of pieces with a proof finish. Krause's Standard Catalog of World Coins also reports two unissued patterns dated 1867 that have the value written as "1 BAN" as instead of "1 BANU".

A replica coin was produced by the Monetǎria Statului in 2007 (see below for more details). The 1 banu of 1867 also appears on a silver 10 leu coin of 2008 celebrating Romanian economist Costin Kirițescu (1908–2002).

Presentation pieces (1883–1888)[]

The United Principalities officially declared themselves independent from the Ottoman Empire on May 21, 1887, and after defeating Turkish forces in the Romanian War for Independence in 1878, this independence was internationally recognized at the Congress of Berlin. Shortly thereafter, in 1881, the United Principalities became the Kingdom of Romania, with Prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen becoming its first ruler, King Carol I. The transition to a monarchy called for the production of new coins bearing the king's likeness. Presentation pieces were struck in bronze in 1883 and in gilded bronze and copper in 1888 and sent to Queen Elisabeth, Carol I's wife, but were never issued. They were reportedly struck at the Romanian Monetǎria Statului in Bucharest, and designed and engraved by Prussian artist Friedrich Wilhelm Kullrich (1821–1887). All three compositions have a mass of about 1 gram and a diameter of 15 millimeters. They have coin alignment and are round in shape.

Engraved in the middle of the obverse of most examples is the early coat of arms of the Kingdom of Romania – which consists of a large, crowned escutcheon in the center, containing in the first quarter a crowned eagle holding a scepter and sword in its talons and a cross in its beak (for Wallachia), in the second the head of an aurochs (for Moldavia), in the third a crowned left-facing lion above a larger crown (for Oltenia), in the fourth two dolphins (for Dobruja), and in the center the arms of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. This escutcheon is supported by two lions, and underneath it is the scroll bearing the motto "NIHIL SINE DEO". Behind is a large mantle surmounted by the Steel Crown. The date of minting is present in the center of most pieces, the first two digits separated from the last two by the arms. Inscribed in a counterclockwise direction along the bottom periphery of most examples is the face value "1 BAN", flanked to the left by the "B" mint mark of Bucharest and to the right by the wheat privy mark of the facility. A handful of pieces appear to use the same dies as the 1867 coins, featuring the arms of the United Principalities in the center and the word "ROMANIA" along the upper rim. A left-facing, bearded and mustached bust of King Carol I is featured in the center of the reverse. Inscribed along the periphery of the piece is the Romanian legend "CAROL I REGE AL ROMANIEI" (English: "Carol I, King of Romania"), which commences in an upward direction at the lower left rim, arches downward at the top of the piece, and concludes at the bottom right boundary of the reverse. The "KULLRICH" signature of the engraver is shown in small print underneath the truncation of Carol's bust. Both rims of the pieces are raised and decorated with a beaded (pearl) border.

Only about 500 examples of the bronze and gilded bronze coins were produced, and about 100 specimens of the copper were made.

1900 coin[]

Romania 1 ban 1900

A 1 ban coin of 1900

In 1900, around the middle of Carol I's reign, Romanian officials were prompted to introduce a new 1 ban coin for circulation. The presentation pieces made in 1883 and 1888 served as the basis for the 1900 coin, which essentially features the same designs that Kullrich had drafted in the 1880s, with some minor modifications. Commissioned to produce the 1 ban piece of 1900 was the mint in Hamburg, a German state, although the mint and privy marks of the Monetǎria Statului of Romania in Bucharest were not omitted from the obverse after the original designs were revised. The coin is composed of copper, and like the 1867 circulation pieces, has a mass of 1 gram and a diameter of 15 millimeters. It has coin alignment and a plain edge, and is round in shape.

The obverse of the piece is very similar to those of the presentation coins of the 1880s, featuring the arms of the Kingdom of Romania in the center, the separated date in the middle, and the value surrounded by the mint and privy marks of Bucharest along the bottom rim. However, the Order of the Star of Romania, a civil order awarded by Romanian leaders since 1877, is shown at the bottom of the heraldic illustration in the center, as such an item was officially added to the Romanian coat of arms after 1881. Also, the arms is scaled down to make room for the word "ROMANIA" written clockwise along the upper rim. The reverse is identical in appearance to that on the presentation pieces, displaying a left-facing likeness of King Carol I in the center, accompanied by the text "CAROL I REGE AL ROMANIEI" around the periphery and the "KULLRICH" signature of the artist below the depiction of the king. Both sides of the 1900 coin have a raised rim decorated with a beaded (pearl) border.

In total, approximately 20,007,000 examples of the 1 ban coin were produced, including an unknown number struck with a proof finish.

Communist era coin (1952–1954)[]

Communist Romania 1 ban

A 1953 coin of the communist era

In 1940, fascist politician Ion Antonescu (1882–1946) took control of Romania, and the country entered World War II on the side of the Axis powers, launching an offensive against the Soviet Union to the east. In spite of Romania's turning to the Allies after the deposition of the fascist government, Soviet forces occupied the country until 1958. During this period of occupation, the Romanian Communist Party gained popularity and in 1947 sent the king into exile, thus forming the Romanian People's Republic. In 1952, the instability of the second Romanian leu introduced in 1947 led to the revaluation of the currency. Production of a new 1 ban coin began that year and would continue until 1954. The Moscow Mint of the Soviet Union was commissioned to produce the piece for 1952, but later examples were made at Bucharest. The communist coin is composed of a copper-nickel-zinc alloy and has a mass of 1 gram, a diameter of 16 millimeters, and a thickness of 0.87 millimeters. It has coin alignment and a reeded edge, and is round in shape.

Solely featured on the obverse is the emblem of the Romanian People's Republic – which consists of an illustration of a derrick in a mountainous forest under a rising sun, all surrounded by stocks of wheat tied together with a cloth bearing the letters "RPR" (for Republica Populară Romînă). Pieces minted from 1953 to 1954 also feature a five-pointed star at the top, which was officially added to the state emblem during September 1952. The value "1 BAN" is printed at the top center of the obverse, with the numeral and word printed on separate lines and the former engraved in a much larger font than the latter. Underneath the word "BAN" is the date of minting in smaller print. The rims of the obverse and reverse are raised.

Over three years of production, a total of 90,700,000 examples of the coin were produced: 67,400,000 in 1952; 8,000,000 in 1953; and 15,300,000 in 1954. All were made as business strikes.

Replica coin (2007)[]

1st 1 ban replica

The gold replica of the first 1 ban coin

The year 2007 officially marked the 140th anniversary of the first Romanian leu coins and the voting of the Law for establishing a new monetary system and for manufacturing national coins by the Parliament of Romania. In commemoration of such an event, the Monetǎria Statului produced a 1 ban replica coin in precious metal. It features the same designs created by Leonard Charles Wyon over a century ago. The piece is composed of .999 fine gold and has a mass of 1.75 grams (unlike the original) and a diameter of 15 millimeters. It is round in shape and has a reeded edge, as opposed to the plain edge of the actual 1867 coin.

Like the original piece, the obverse features the coat of arms of the United Principalities, accompanied above by the word "ROMANIA", written in a clockwise direction. The value is written on two lines in the center of the reverse as "1 BANU", and is followed below by the date "1867". A wreath is engraved around the rim of the piece, and a small "H" for Heaton's Mint is included at the bottom of the replica coin. Both rims of the piece are raised and decorated with a beaded (pearl) border.

Only 250 examples of the coin were produced, all in a Brilliant Uncirculated grade.

Current coin (2005–present)[]

In December 1989, the Romanian Revolution was fought between anti-government protesters and the supporters of Nicolae Ceaușescu (1918–1989), the President of Romania and General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party. After a few weeks of fighting, Ceaușescu's regime was toppled and Ceaușescu himself was executed, officially bringing an end to nearly 48 years of communist rule and establishing the current Romanian government. High inflation from post-communist reform failures weakened the third leu, and in spite of some gradual economic recovery in the late 1990s and 2000s, the leu was briefly the world's least-valued currency unit from January to July 2005. This prompted the Romanian government that year to introduce a new leu with a purchasing power brought back in line with other major Western currencies. Thus, the 1 ban coin, rendered virtually obsolete in the previous leu currencies, was reintroduced in 2005, and has been produced annually at the Monetǎria Statului in Bucharest since. The current coin is composed of brass-plated steel and has a mass of 2.4 grams, a diameter of 16.75 millimeters, and a width of 1.6 millimeters. It has medallic alignment and a plain edge, and is round in shape.

Displayed in the middle of the obverse is a small coat of arms of Romania – which consists of an escutcheon bearing an eagle with a sword in its dexter talon, a mace in its sinister, an Orthodox cross in its mouth, and a shield on its breast. The shield is divided into five parts: an eagle with a cross in its mouth for Wallachia; an aurochs head with a flower, five-pointed star, and crescent for Moldavia; a lion with a saber in its palm, slightly behind an arched bridge, for Oltenia and Banat; two dolphins for Dobruja; and an eagle and seven castles for Transylvania. Inscribed in a clockwise direction along the upper rim of the piece is "ROMANIA", and written counterclockwise around the bottom periphery is the date of minting. The remainder of the coin's boundary is occupied by eight four-pointed stars, four on each side of the obverse. The value "1 BAN" is engraved on one line in the center of the reverse, with the numeral printed significantly larger than the word "BAN", which is decorated with a lined border above and below. Both the rims of the piece are raised.

The total mintage of the current 1 ban coin is currently unknown. Proofs have been offered for every year of production thus far in low-mintage proof sets.

  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015

See also[]


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