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The 1 cent coin is a current circulation piece of Tuvalu. It was issued in two types from 1976 to 1994, during the earlier reign of Queen Elizabeth II (1926–; r. 1952–). Each was distributed by the Government of Tuvalu and struck under contract at foreign mints.
The first coin of the denomination was initially released in 1976 by the short-lived Territory of Tuvalu, and then issued again by an independent Tuvalu in 1981 and 1985. It was followed by a similar second type in 1994.
Both coins are currently legal tender in their country of origin, each carrying a nominal value of 0.01 Tuvaluan dollar, or 0.01 Australian dollar. In spite of this, neither circulates frequently because of their low purchasing power.
First coin (1976–1985)Edit
On January 1, 1976, the Gilbert and Ellice Islands separated, respectively becoming the British territories of Kiribati and Tuvalu. Within a few years, both territories were granted independence, with Tuvalu becoming a sovereign Commonwealth realm by virtue of the Tuvalu Independence Order on October 1, 1978.
In 1976, shortly after separating from the Gilbert Islands (Kiribati), Tuvalu adopted its first series of circulation coins. Consisting of denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and 1 dollar, this series was based on Australia's first family of circulation coins, which had been circulating in Tuvalu since 1966. Each piece was struck under contract at the Royal Mint of the United Kingdom in 1976, 1981, and 1985.
The 1 cent coin of the series has the same composition and measurements as the Australian cent. The Tuvaluan piece is composed of a bronze alloy and measures 2.59 grams in mass, 17.53 millimeters in diameter, and 1.5 millimeters in thickness. It has medallic alignment and a plain edge, and like most coins, is round in shape. Both of its rims are raised and decorated with a dentilated border.
The cent's obverse, designed by British artist Arnold Machin (1911–1999), features a right-facing portrait of Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara in its center. Printed clockwise from the lower left to lower right peripheries is the English caption "QUEEN ELIZABETH THE SECOND".
The reverse was designed by British jeweler John Donald (1928–) and engraved by British sculptor Avril Vaughan (1937–2006). In the center, it features the shell of a spider conch (Lambis), a type of large sea snail found throughout the Indo-Pacific, including the territorial waters of Tuvalu. The face value "1c", abbreviated for "1 cent", appears to the right, the numeral rendered in significantly larger print than the following letter. Printed clockwise along the rim above is the state title "TUVALU", and engraved in the opposite direction at the periphery below is the Gregorian date of minting.
Around 113,000 examples of the coin, including many business strikes, a handful of Brilliant Uncirculated pieces, and 20,000 proofs, were manufactured during its first year of production. Mintage figures for 1981 and 1985 are currently unknown. All of the uncirculated and proof pieces were distributed in official mint and proof sets by the Government of Tuvalu.
Second coin (1994)Edit
Around 1982, officials at the Royal Mint decided to replace Machin's coin portrait of Elizabeth II with a new likeness. The mint invited 17 artists to submit portrait models for consideration, and of the 38 proposals received, one by Israeli-British sculptor Raphael David Maklouf (1937–) was ultimately selected. This new portrait became available for use as early as 1985, but was not adopted on Tuvalu's circulation coins until 1994, when a series of new 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cent and 1 dollar pieces was introduced. Each of these coins was struck exclusively that year at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra, Australia.
The cent of the series is composed of a bronze alloy and measures 2.59 grams in mass, 17.53 millimeters in diameter, and 1.5 millimeters in thickness. It has medallic alignment and a plain edge, and is round in shape. Both of its rims are raised and decorated with a dentilated border.
Maklouf's right-facing bust of Elizabeth II, which shows the queen wearing the George IV State Diadem, Coronation Earrings, and Coronation Necklace, is displayed in the middle of the obverse. Engraved in the bottom of the illustration near the bust truncation are the "RDM" initials of the artist. The queen's likeness is accompanied by the English caption "QUEEN ELIZABETH THE SECOND", which extends clockwise from the coin's lower left to lower right rims.
The reverse is identical to that of the first Tuvaluan cent. The shell of a spider conch appears in the middle, the face value "1c" displayed in large print to the right. Inscribed clockwise along the rim above the shell is the state title "TUVALU", and engraved in the opposite direction at the periphery below is the Gregorian date of minting, "1994".
The mintage of the 1994 coin is currently unknown. Most were minted as business strikes, but a small number of Brilliant Uncirculated pieces were also produced and distributed in mint sets.
- Numismatic Guaranty Corporation – Tuvalu - Cent, KM# 1 (1976–1985) • Tuvalu - Cent, KM# 26 (1994)
- Colnect – 1 Cent (1976–1985) • 1 Cent (1994)
- Numista – 1 Cent (1976–1985) • 1 Cent (1994) (English) (French)
- Schön, Günter and Gerhard, Weltmünzkatalog 20. Jahrhundert, 44. Auflage, 2016, Battenberg Gietl Verlag, ISBN 9783866461192
- Tuvaluan dollar on the English Wikipedia