The leone is the currency of Sierra Leone. It is subdivided into 100 cents. The ISO 4217 code is SLL and the leone is abbreviated as Le placed before the amount.
The leone was introduced in 1964. It replaced the British West African pound at a rate of 1 pound = 2 leones (i.e., 1 leone = 10 shillings).
For an earlier Sierra Leone currency, see Sierra Leonean dollar.
In 1964, coins were introduced in denominations of ½, 1, 5, 10 and 20 cents. All bore the portrait of Sir Milton Margai. In 1972, 50 cents coins were introduced which carried the portrait of Dr . This portrait also appeared on a new, slightly smaller series of coins introduced in 1980 in denominations of ½, 1, 5, 10 and 20 cents. In 1987, octagonal, nickel-bronze 1 leone coins were introduced.
Following a period of high inflation, new coins were introduced in 1996 for 10, 50 and 100 leones. 500 leones coins were introduced in 2004. Of the four coins in circulation, only the 100 leones is available in any quantity. Most shopkeepers and restaurants rarely encounter 500 leones coins.
In 1964, the Bank of Sierra Leone introduced notes in denominations of 1, 2 and 5 leones. 50 cents notes were added in 1979, followed by 10 leones in 1980 and 20 leones in 1982. 100 leones notes were introduced in 1988, followed by 500 leones in 1991, 1000 and 5000 leones in 1993, 2000 leones in the year 2000 and 10,000 Leone in 2004.
Banknotes currently in circulation are 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10,000 leones. 10,000 leones notes have been in circulation for less than ten years and are at present still infrequently encountered. This means that most transactions take place in bundles of 5000 leones notes. Because of inflation, a 20,000 leone banknote will soon be introduced, at a date to be determined.
Specimen notes are issued to banks to familiarize the local inhabitants with any currency changes. These are issued by Thomas De La Rue of the UK.
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