When Italy occupied Albania in 1938, the lek was reduced in value to 0.8 Italian lira. Coins were issued denominated solely in lek during the occupation. After the Second World War, only the lek and qindarkë (equal to the qindar leku) were issued. Between 1946 and 1948, the lek was tied at par to the Yugoslav dinar. Following this, the lek was tied to the Soviet ruble at a rate of 12.5 lek = 1 ruble.
After the Italian occupation, stainless-steel 0.20, 0.50, 1 and 2 lek and silver 5 and 10 lek were introduced, with the silver coins only issued that year but aluminium-bronze 0.05 and 0.10 lek introduced in 1940. These coins were issued until 1941.
In 1947, a new coinage was introduced, consisting of zinc ½, 1, 2 and 5 lekë. This coinage was issued until 1957.
The obverses have various designs with the inscription "Republika e Shqipërisë" (Republic of Albania) and the year of production. All have the value with branches on the reverse.
In 1945, the People's Bank of Albania (Banka e Shtetit Shqiptar) issued overprints on National Bank notes for 10 lek, 20 and 100 franga. Regular notes were also issued in 1945 in denominations of 1, 5, 20, 100 and 500 franga. In 1947, the lek was adopted as the main denominations, with notes issued for 10, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 lekë.
|10 lekë||Peach||Partisan||Geometric designs|
|50 lekë||Dark green||Partisan||Geometric designs|
|100 lekë||Dark blue||Partisan||Geometric designs|
|500 lekë||Brown||Partisan||Geometric designs|
|1,000 lekë||Dark blue/multicoloured||Partisan||Geometric designs|
|1949 and 1957 series|
|10 lekë||Red||Coat of arms||Coat of arms|
|50 lekë||Dark blue||Skanderbeg||Partisan|
|100 lekë||Green||Partisan||Geometric designs|
|500 lekë||Orange/blue||Wheat harvesting, Skanderbeg||Peasant woman with wheat|
|1,000 lekë||Purple||Skanderbeg, oil wells||A miner|
|1964 and 1976 series|
|1 lek||Green||Peasant couple with wheat||Castle of Shkodër|
|3 lekë||Brown||Woman carrying basket of fruit||Sea/lakeside town (?)|
|5 lekë||Dark blue||Steam train and truck||Ship|
|10 lekë||Green||Woman working in a textile mill||Bureaucrats and peasants socializing outside the Palace of Culture, Naim Frashëri|
|25 lekë||Dark blue||Woman with wheat, combine harvesting||Mechanized ploughing|
|50 lekë||Red||Army on parade, Skanderbeg||Rifle, pickaxe, apartment block under construction|
|100 lekë||Scarlet||Man showing his son a new hydroelectric dam||Steelworker with oil worker, gesturing grandly, steelworks and oil wells in background|
|100 lekë||Blue||Steelworker pouring an ingot, steelworks in background||Mountains and oil wells|
In 1991, 500 lekë were introduced, followed by denominations of 200 and 1000 lekë in 1992, and 5000 lekë in 1996.
|100 lekë||Purple||Oil refinery||Oil wells, steelworkers, steelworks|
|500 lekë||Blue||Girl with sunflowers||Mountains|
|100 lekë||Purple||Luftetari Kombetar||Eagle and mountains|
|200 lekë||Brown||Ismail Qemali||Albanian independence|
|500 lekë||Light blue||Naim Frashëri||Poetry, mountains|
|1,000 lekë||Green||Skanderbeg||Kruja castle|
|100 lekë||Purple||Theofan Stilian Noli||First parliament|
|200 lekë||Brown||Naim Frashëri||Birthplace of Frashëri|
|500 lekë||Blue||Ismail Qemali||Vlorë independence building|
|1,000 lekë||Green||Pjetër Bogdani||Church of Vau|
|5,000 lekë||Gold||Skanderbeg||Kruja castle|