Banknotes issued from 1979 to 2015

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Historical context

Since the beginning of June, Lesotho has been the 102nd country available in the Numizon catalog of world banknotes! "Lesotho (in long form the Kingdom of Lesotho, in South Sotho Muso oa Lesotho) is a southern African state, mountainous and without access to the sea, entirely enclosed in the territory of South Africa, on which it is economically dependent. Former British protectorate (Basutoland), the country gained independence in 1966. It is today a constitutional monarchy whose sovereign is Letsie III. Its capital and only major city is Maseru. Lesotho has a population of around two million. The Sothos - who gave the country their name - are in the majority. Most are Christians. The two official languages are English and South Sotho ”(1).

The different issues of Lesotho banknotes

The first issue was made in 1979 under the Lesotho Monetary Authority. Three banknotes of 2, 5 and 10 Maloti type 1979 are issued with an identical front, consisting of a portrait of King Moshoeshoe II in military costume and the country's coat of arms arranged in the center of the sticker. However, these three banknotes have a different back.

The second issue was put into circulation between 1981 and 1984 by the Central Bank of Lésotho (2). However, the new institute is content to resume the first series of banknotes with a notable change on the front, where only the wording of the issuing institute "Lesotho Monetary Authority" is replaced by "Central Bank of Lesotho" on the front:


The third issue of 1989-1993 is already a little different from the two previous issues with King Moshoeshoe II presented in civilian costume on a series of 5 banknotes of 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 Maloti.

The fourth issue of 1994-2009 is composed of 5 notes of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 maloti with King Moshoeshoe I seated and holding a knobkierie (3) in his right hand.

The fifth issue of 2010-2015 is the current series of banknotes in Lesotho, namely 5 banknotes of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 maloti. This series presents an identical back composed of the portraits of the last three kings of Lesotho, Moshoeshoe I, Moshoeshoe II and Letsie III, the current sovereign in office since 1996. During the conception of this catalog, a note particularly caught our attention for its unusual side! This is the 20 maloti type 2010. This banknote was issued in 2010 and in 2013. The two variants of banknotes are strictly similar ... except for one small detail located on the back (4)! Can you find it?


Above: back of 20 maloti type 2010 (Pick: # 22a).


Above: back of 20 maloti type 2013 (Pick: # 22b).


(1) “Lesotho” by Wikipedia.
(2) The new Lesotho monetary institution was founded in 1978 and its head office is located in the capital Maseru.
(3) A knobkierrie, also called a knobkerrie, knopkierie, or knobkerry, is a type of African stick or puzzle that is mainly used in eastern and southern Africa.
(4) A couple is visible in the doorway on the back of the 2010 note, but strangely, the two characters disappeared on the 2013 note!

Our sources

  • "Lesotho" Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, 1961-present, 17th edition (pages 592 to 595).
  • "Lesotho" by Owen W. Linzmeyer.
  • Bank Note Museum: "Lesotho".
  • Photos archives : banknote24.eu, cgb.fr.

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