Small Notes Of The Second Lev: 3 Leva (People's Republic of Bulgaria, 1951)-Article

Updated: Jan 3

This small Bulgarian banknote represents the 2nd denomination of the Second Lev (Series 1951). The Second Lev (1952-1962) was a relatively short-lived Bulgarian currency. It replaced the previous First Lev on 5 May 1952, in an effort to counter post-WWI inflation. The exchange rate was 1 "New" to 100 "Old" Leva.

Due to rising inflation the Second Lev was replaced by the Third Lev, on 31 March 1962. The exchange rate was 10 "Old" to 1 "New" Lev. The Third Leva remained the currency of Bulgaria, until 5 July 1999. Surviving even the 1990 collapse of People's Republic of Bulgaria.


The observe features the 1948 Emblem of the People's Republic of Bulgaria. Opposite of this emblem is a large number "3", representing the note's 3 Leva value. Additional number "3"s can be seen along the corner's of the note's decorative frame. Which features extensive guilloché work, as does the backing of the large number 3.

Moving from the header downward we see extensive Bulgarian text. The header reads "Народна Република България", translated as the "People's Republic of Bulgaria". Below this is the note's serial number "BE 444217" and center text. This center text refers this note, as a "State Treasury Note". The remaining text refers to the note's "Three Leva" value and "1951" print date.

To the far right, is the note's watermark area. At its bottom is a decagram (10-pointed star), with a green interior. Within this green interior is a latent image, it reads "НРБ". These are the Cyrillic initials of the People's Republic of Bulgaria. Below this is an additional serial number, it simply repeats the first serial number.


The reverse depicts raised hands bearing a hammer and sickle, symbolizing the industrial and agricultural worker. Soviet inspired imagery was commonly used by Eastern Bloc nations. The general exception being the German Democratic Republic. Which unlike other Soviet-aligned nations, used a hammer and compass emblem.

Surrounding the before mentioned hammer and sickle, is an extensive backing of overlapping guilloché patterns. The header above reads "Три Лева" (Three Leva), which is reinforced by 4 additional number "3"s. One is located on the reverse watermark area, on and an ornate backing. While the remainder surround the hammer and sickle illustration.

At the note's footer is an extensive notification to the note's bearer and a warning to counterfeiters. This extensive text roughly translates to:

"A state treasury ticket (banknote) is provided with all the property of the People's Republic of Bulgaria and it is obligatory to accept it from all institutions, enterprises and persons, at the noted value.
For forgeries the culprit are punished by law.

Additional Notes

  • This note's dimension are 120 x 60 mm or 4.72 x 2.36 in, smaller than a US Dollar.

  • The preferable method to preserve this note are side-opening sleeves, cut to size.

  • The Second Lev ISO code was BGK, the symbol "лв" is used to represent all Lev types.

  • The term "Lev" is based on an "Old Bulgarian/Old Church Slavonic" name for a lion.

  • The Dutch Leeuwendaalder (Lion Thaler/Dollar) coin historically circulated in Bulgaria.

  • All Bulgarian Lev, both historic and modern are divided into 100 Stotinki.

  • Coins in Stotinki and Lev denominations have been issued throughout the Lev's history.

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