Lev was adopted as a Bulgarian currency in 1880 after a serious debate in parliament. There was a view that the Bulgarian national currency should be a derivative of the French franc. Most MPs choose the lev as a symbol of national identity.
The first copper pennies were minted in Birmingham and came into circulation in 1881. The first silver coins were cut into Russia. With a silver coin of 50 cents, a lamb could be bought. A gold coin of 100 leva, cut off in Bulgaria, was enough to buy a house. Copper coins of 2, 5 and 10 cents were the most used. They laid the foundations of Bulgarian economic life. In fact, Bulgaria has been fully integrated into Europe. The Bulgarian Lev has been convertible everywhere.
After the fall of the communist regime in 1989 two drastic inflation occurred in Bulgaria in the winter of 1990/1991 and in the winter of 1996/1997. They considerably devalued the levs.
In 1997 a currency board was introduced in Bulgaria. The lev is fixed to the German mark. Upon the introduction of the euro in 1999, the value of the lev is linked to the value of the euro at a ratio of BGN 1.95583 = EUR 1. Bulgaria’s accession to the euro area is expected.