Tokelau, known previously as the Tokelau Islands, is a dependent territory of New Zealand in the southern Pacific Ocean. It uses the New Zealand Dollar as circulation currency, but has been issuing a variety of non-circulating coins since 1978. These are denominated in dollars or "Tala" (the local word for dollar) and cents.
The country has also authorised some foreign mints to issue non circulating bullion coins under its jurisdiction, such as this 1 oz (one ounce) gold coin.
This coin commemorates British writer H.P. Lovecraft's horror stories about monster Cthulhu.
Considered a Great Old One within the pantheon of Lovecraftian cosmic entities, Cthulhu was first introduced in his short story "The Call of Cthulhu" published in 1928. The creature has since been featured in numerous popular culture references. Lovecraft depicts it as a gigantic entity worshipped by cultists, in the shape of a green octopus, dragon, and a caricature of human form. The Lovecraft-inspired universe, the Cthulhu Mythos, where it exists with its fellow entities, is named after it.
The imprisoned Cthulhu is apparently the source of constant subconscious anxiety for all mankind, and is also the object of worship, both by many human cults (including some within New Zealand, Greenland, Louisiana, and the Chinese mountains) and by other Lovecraftian monsters (called Deep Ones and Mi-Go). The short story asserts the premise that, while currently trapped, Cthulhu will eventually return. His worshippers chant "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" ("In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming").
The obverse of the coin shows the crowned mature head of Queen Elizabeth II facing right (her effigy known as the "Fourth Portrait"). The Queen wears the "Girls of Great Britain and Ireland" diamond tiara, a wedding gift from Queen Mary (Her Majesty's grandmother) in 1947 - which she also has on the Machin and the Gottwald portraits.
In small letters below the head, the artist's initials IRB (for Ian Rank-Broadley).
Around the effigy is the monarch's legend, the date of issue and the value: TOKELAU 100 DOLLARS ELIZABETH II 2021.
Above the date, the precious metal content: 1 oz .9999 FINE GOLD (one troy ounce of 99.99% gold).
The circle with the Queen's effigy and inscriptions is off-centre. Below it, a steamship travelling from the issuing country of Tokelau in the Pacific to the sunken city of R'lyeh as indicated by a symbol of Cthulhu and oriented by compass rose.
The Queen's effigy, and the background of the obverse outside the circle with the effigy, are frosted.