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20 lei
Coin from 1991
General information

Flag of Romania Romania


20.00 lei

Measurements and composition


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The 20 lei coin has been minted numerous times by the Monetăria Statului of Romania. In 1867, the first coin was made, composed of gold. Following this were two commemorative issues and was then in circulation again in 1930, then from 1942 to 1944, then in 1951, and finally from 1991 to 2003. Nowadays, the coin is not being circulated, but occasionally, commemorative 20 lei coins are issued.


First coin[]

Romania 20 lei 1870

A Romanian pol coin.

The first 20 lei coin of Romania, designated as the pol (plural: poli) was issued by the Kingdom of Romania under the reign of Carol I in 1867. It was composed of 900/1000 gold, weighed 6.452 grams, and had a diameter of 21 millimeters. The coin's obverse featured the king of Romania at the time, Carol I, while its reverse displayed the coin's value surrounded by two oak wreaths.[2][5]

A replica of this coin was minted by the Monetăria Statului in 2005. See below for more information.[5]

1906 commemorative coin[]

Romanian 20 lei coin commemorative 1906

The 1906 commemorative coin.

In 1906, the Monetăria Statului issued a 20 lei coin commemorating 40 years since Carol I's reign. This coin was composed of 900/1000 gold, had a mass of 6.452 grams, and a diameter of 21 millimeters, similar to the first 20 lei coin. The obverse of the coin featured Carol I as he appeared during 1866, while the reverse featured Carol I during that year, in 1906. A total of 15,000 of these coins were circulated.[2]

1922 commemorative coin[]

During 1922, the second commemorative 20 lei coin was minted, commemorating five years since the coronation of Ferdinand. It was composed of 900/1000 gold, had a mass of 6.452 grams, and a diameter of 21 millimeters. The coin's obverse featured Ferdinand wearing a laurel wreath, while the reverse depicted the coat of arms of Romania at the time and the value.[6]

A replica of this coin was minted in 2008. See below for more information.[6]

1930 coins[]

Romanian 20 lei 1930 Mihai

A 20 lei coin of Mihai I.


A 20 lei coin of Carol II.

During 1930, two 20 lei coins were minted, due to two rulers reigning during that year, Mihai I and Carol II. Both the coins were very similar in composition and size, but very different in technical appearance. Both coins were composed of 79% copper, 20% nickel, and 1% zinc, had a mass of 7.5 grams, and a diameter of 27 millimeters. However, the designs of the obverse and reverse were different for each coin. The first of these was the coin of Mihai I. On the obverse, it displayed him with the legend, "MIHAI I REGELE ROMANIEI" as well as the year of minting. The reverse of the coin displayed dancing peasant women and the value of the coin. The coin of Carol II displayed him on the obverse, with the legend, "CAROL II REGELE ROMANIEI". The reverse of this coin displayed the coat of arms of Romania wearing the shield of the royal cipher of Carol II, its value, and its year of minting.[1][3]

1940s issue[]

Romanian 20 lei 1942

A 20 lei coin from 1942.

From 1942 to 1944, during the second reign of Mihai I, a new 20 lei coin was minted. This coin was comparably lighter and smaller in size, being composed of lighter zinc, with a mass of 6 grams and a diameter of 26 millimeters. The obverse of this coin featured the Steel Crown of Romania, the year of minting, and the legend, "REGATUL ROMANIEI". The reverse displayed the value surrounded by corn, oats, and wheat. A total of about 74.8 million of these coins were minted.[7][9]

1944 commemorative coin[]

Romanian 20 lei coin (or medal)

The 1944 commemorative coin.

In 1944, another commemorative coin was introduced, which commemorated the return of Northern Transylvania to Romania, which was formerly a part of Hungary. It was composed of 900/1000 fine gold, weighed 6.55 grams, and had a diameter of 21 millimeters. The obverse featured three iconic Romanian leaders, Michael the Brave, Ferdinand, and Mihai I. The reverse displayed the coat of arms of the counties of Bihor, Ciuc, Cluj, Maramureş, Mureş, Năsăud, Odorhei, Sălaj, Satu Mare, Someş, and Trei Scaune, which were a part of Northern Transylvania. This coin, however, does not display a value, making many regard it is a medal rather than a coin.[2][10]

1951 coin[]

Romanian 20 lei 1951

A 20 lei coin from 1951.

During 1951, four years after the establishment of Communist Romania, a new 20 lei coin was minted. It was comparably much lighter than its predecessor from the 1940s, being composed of a much lighter metal, aluminum. The coin, though much smaller in mass, still had the same diameter, 26 millimeters. The obverse of the coin featured the coat of arms of Communist Romania, along with the year and the official name of the country, "Republica Popular Romana". The reverse displayed a blacksmith near a factory, and the value of the coin. This coin was only minted during one year.[8]

1990 series[]

In 1991, two years after the fall of Communist Romania, a 20 lei coin was issued by the National Bank of Romania in the 1990 series of coins of the third leu. The coin was not nearly as small as its 1951 predecessor in mass, but had a smaller diameter, at 24 millimeters. Along with the 50 lei coin, it became the first Romanian coin to be composed of brass plated steel. The coin's obverse featured Stephen the Great surrounded by fourteen pearls, with the legend, "Ştefan Cel Mare". The reverse displayed the value and year of minting surrounded by an oak wreath and a sector of fifteen pearls. This coin's minting ended in 2003, and was officially demonetized in 2005.[1][4]


Romanian 20 lei replica coin

Replica of the first pol from 2005.

During 2005, the Monetăria Statului minted a replica of the first 20 lei coin of Romania as a part of a series on the history of Romanian coinage. These coins were exact duplicates of what the original coin looked like and even displayed the same year as some of the coins were minted, 1868. This proof replica coin is now very rare, as only 250 were issued.[2][5]

Romanian 20 lei 2008

Replica of the commemorative 20 lei coin from 1922.

During 2008, the Monetăria Statului minted yet another replica coin of an original 20 lei coin, the commemorative coin from 1922 that originally commemorated King Ferdinand's reign. The 2008 coin was minted in commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the Great Union Day, which occurred on December 1, 1918. This coin, just like the previous replica, was an exact duplicate of the original coin, and had the year the coin was minted. This BU coin had a higher mintage, but still at a relatively small number, with only 500 copies being issued.[2][6]


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