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1 ban, 5, 10 and 50 bani 2005 - 2010
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ROMANIA, Romanian coat of arms, year 2005, two clusters of four-ray stars

face value diameter width mass metal edge
1 ban16.751.62.4brass plated steelflat
5 bani18.251.62.78copper plated steelgrained, with 102 teeth
10 bani20.51.84nickel plated steelthree groups of 20 teeth each
50 bani23.751.96.1copper 80%, zinc 15%, nickel 5% (brass)flat, with the inscription ROMANIA (two times)

About the new coins

The 2005 coin series appeared as result of the new leu introduction, following the decision of the National Bank to denominalize the leu. The operation's name was quickly switched to denomination, just as if intending to cover the true nature of the word. Denominalization is a financial term of French origin, apparently not existing in English. Accordingly to Romanian dictionaries, its meaning is to reduce the nominal value of currency tokens, transformation operated in periods of accentuated currency depreciation whereas to denominate means to give a name to something and has Italian origin.

A somewhat similar term is that of monetary stabilization, meaning an assembly of measures undertaken by the state to strengthen national currency. The stabilization is performed after a previous inflation and presumes cease of excedentary money issuing and termination of surplus paper money in circulation. Another term is that of monetary reform, signifying the replacement of the currency system or modification of important parts of it. In 1947 Romania had a stabilization and in 1952 monetary reform. The differences between stabilization, reform and denominalization are not very clear to us. All these operations ended in reducing the calculation values in a ratio of 20.000:1 (1947), 20:1 (1952) and now in 2005 of 10.000:1. In 1947 every citizen was allowed to exchange a certain, fixed amount of money that was proffesion dependent.

The first monetary reform was performed in Romania in 1867, when the leu with its subdivision ban was introduced.

1 new leu is equivalent to 10.000 old lei, so the 1 ban now issued is equivalent to 100 old lei, coin that did not circulate in Romania the last few years due to its minute value (about one third of an eurocent). The new coins entered circulation on the 1st of July 2005. The old coins and banknotes will circulate over to December 31st 2006, and afterwards they will still be able to be exchaged into new currency inside National Bank branches. The campaign to popularize the new currency started long before. Since March 1st 2005 all prices have been compulsorily posted in both old and new values.

The design of the coins is very dull and blunt, overcoming in platitude and lack of inspiration all Romanian coins struck to present, as a natural continuation of the Romanian coinage involution (even 50 bani of 1947 and 1, 3 and 5 bani of 1952 look better). It is hard to believe that Romania will ever issue coins less atractive that these comprised by the 2005 series.

We published these coins on the 3rd of June 2005, two days after the coin set was put on sale by BNR (National Bank of Romania). The obverse and reverse are disposed in medal fashion for this first set. The adorning elements on the edge of 10 and 50 bani do not have a fix starting position related to the faces. On 50 bani the edge inscription is laid either on the obverse or the reverse. This observation is true for all the incuse inscriptions or ornaments on the edge of the Romanian coins from the beginnings up to present (2010).

The introduction of the new leu was popularized even with the help of a philatelic issue. We present below 2 stamps of the series issued therefor.

About the new coins in the 2005 proof mint set

On August 1st 2005 a new mint set was put on sale. It contains, beside the old 1 leu, 100, 500, 1000 and 5000 lei coins, the new four coins. All the set pieces are minted at proof quality. A 5 bani coin is pictured below, as an example. The funny thing is that, as you can see, the coins of the two circulation sets issued in 2005 differ!

"Monedă" or "monetă"?

The new coins were mostly introduced to circulation in big stores, where the coins arrived in 50 piece clusters, as it can be seen in the image above. It is interesting to observe that on the wrapping the rare word form monete (monetă in singular) meaning coins is inscribed and not monede (monedă in singular) that is actually in use. The nowadays dictionaries (MDE = Small Encyclopaedic Dictionary, DOOM = Orthographical, Orthoepical and Morphological Dictionary, DLRC = Dictionary of the Contemporary Literary Romanian Language, DEX = Explicative Dictionary of the Romanian Language) notes commonly the form monedă, monede, sometimes mentioning the variant monetă. We quote an article from 1939 written by the eminent philologist Alexandru Graur: „Monedă comes to us, as in all Balkan languages, from Greek: moneda, and there, from the Venetian dialect (also moneda). In Italy the word is of Latin origin: moneta. This is the epithet of goddess Juno ("the advisor", from the Latin verb moneo "to advise"). As coins were struck in the temple of goddess Juno Moneta, the name passed to the actual coins." It can also be mentioned that the Romanian form "monetă" is not necessarily originated in Italian, as in Russian the coin is also named moneta. The Romanian got in contact with Russian just recently, but it must be mentioned that moneda is also a neologism in Romanian.

Besides the form "monete" for plural, that is certainly correct, there also exists the form "monezi", probably constructed by analogy with other similar plurals of words, such as grămadă, grămezi (heap, heaps) or livadă, livezi (orchard, orchards). The form monezi, although not included in dictionaries, returns about 30-40% of the results provided by Google in searches for monede and monezi, and also occupies about half of plural occurences of the word in the common speaking, so it is also a very spread form.

A striking error

The coin below was found in circulation by Mr Gabriel Niculescu. He sent us the picture. Thanks!

Parallel lines striking error

The coin below was also found in circulation. Convenient light was chosen for photo. Paralel lines are present on both faces, most obvious being on the obverse.

The pictures below were received from an anonimous donor. Thanks! We can see a major error: the obverse is rotated with 90° to the right against the axis of the reverse - as pictured. The star at 9 o'clock is linked to the star at 3 o'clock (the die was broken), and the first two stars at 3 o'clock has united corners.


We are grateful to Mr Adrian Popovici that sent us pictures of these coins.

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