The coins of Tuvalu depict a selection of
marine life indicative of its Pacific
This collection of coins has kindly been
made available by Mr. Francis Clifton who served in Tuvalu
(and other Pacific Islands) during World War 2.
This coin set was obtained from
JOHN'S COINSHOP, DeLAND, FLORIDA
Tuvalu has been an independent state within the
British Commonwealth since October 1, 1978. Located in
Ocean near the point where the Equator crosses the International Date Line, Tuvalu was formerly the Ellice Islands
and was associated with the Gilbert Islands (Kiribati) until
October 1, 1975. There are nine atolls in all, although the
Polynesian name means "eight standing." The ninth atoll, Niulakita, was not discovered until many years after the
islands were originally settled.
Map of Tuvalu.
Tuvalu is presently inhabited by about 10,000
people, who are predominantly descendants of the
Polynesians who overcame the Micronesians in the 16th century. The total land area is about ten square miles
spread over an ocean area of 421 by 91 miles.
Except for occasional sightings, the islands were virtually
unknown to Europeans until the 19th century. In 1819 Captain de Peyster visited Funafuti and Nukufetau, naming them
the Ellice Islands after the head of the trading firm of Phyn,
Ellice & Inglis, owners of his ships.
In succeeding years the
population was reduced by raiding parties who sold their
captives into forced labor. A British protectorate was established in 1892, and on November 10, 1915 the Ellice and
Gilbert groups were annexed at the request of local rulers.
About 1,500 Tuvaluans are employed overseas or as seamen, since the islands lack sufficient topsoil to support a
large population. Coconuts, fish and taro comprise the major
commodities. Consequently, imports of food, consumer
goods and building materials far exceed the value of exports.
The coins of Tuvalu depict a
selection of fascinating marine
life indicative of its Pacific location:
1-cent, lambis shell;
5-cents, tiger shark;
l0-cents, red-eyed crab;
20-cents, flying fish;
I-dollar, sea turtle.
Appropriate to Tuvalu's status as a
each of the coins bears a portrait of Queen Elizabeth
II on the obverse.