This wonderfully appealing coin is .9999 pure gold from the Perth Mint. This coin exploits the widespread interest and fascination in owls. 'Wise' and 'solemn' birds of prey, they have significance in many cultures and are often featured in poetry and literature. Issued as legal tender under the authority of the Government of Tuvalu, their size makes them perfect to be worn as jewelry pendants. Design: The reverse of each 2006-dated coin depicts an owl with large staring eyes. The frosted design appears on a shiny background, which includes the monetary denomination. The obverse of each contain portrays the Raphael Maklouf effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the 2006 year-date. Tuvalu, formerly known as the Ellice Islands, is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean midway between Hawaii and Australia. Its nearest neighbours are Kiribati, Samoa and Fiji. Comprising 4 reef islands and 5 true atolls, with a total land area of just 26 square kilometers (10 sq mi), it is the second-least populated independent country in the world, Vatican City being the smallest. It is the smallest member by population of the United Nations. The first inhabitants of Tuvalu were Polynesian people. The islands came under Britain's sphere of influence in the late 19th century. The Ellice Islands were administered by Britain as part of a protectorate from 1892 to 1916 and as part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony from 1916 to 1974. In 1974 the Ellice Islanders voted for separate British dependency status as Tuvalu, separating from the Gilbert Islands which became Kiribati upon independence. Tuvalu became fully independent in 1978.