Who’s the Owl?

We’ve been asked several times for the story behind the Coin Academy owl, so, here you go…

When we began searching for an identity for Coin Academy, we knew we wanted to accomplish two things: First, we wanted to make a connection with currency/finance/forex, and second, we wanted a symbol that reflected our emphasis on education. We looked at a variety of different imagery and played with a number of different ideas. In the end, it was a classical image drawn directly from ancient coinage that made the cut.

athenian tetradrachmThe image at left is the coin that started it all. That’s an ancient Greek coin known as a Tetradrachm. These heavy, roughly stamped coins are commonly known as “Athenian Owls” and are some of the most highly desired coins in the collectors’ market today.

The Tetradrachm was a silver coin and, as the name implies, was equal to 4 drachmae. These coins were in circulation from approximately 510 to 38 B.C. The example we chose for our inspiration dates to about 488 B.C. and was minted in Athens (the lettering seen next to the owl in the photo at left means “of Athens”).  Tetradrachm were one of the most influential ancient coins and were one of the first coins to see wide international usage. These coins revolutionized trade and eased financial transactions in the world.

One side of the Tetradrachm featured a human face — typically (but not always) the goddess Athena. The obverse featured the owl with an olive branch. The owl does have symbolism: This is no common owl, this is the mascot of the goddess Athena. She was the goddess of knowledge who, according to Greek mythology, at times took the form of an owl. Then, as now, the owl was considered to be a symbol of knowledge, learning and erudition.

(For the ornithologists in the crowd: The owl species depicted is the Athena Noctua, also called the Little Owl or Minerva Owl. Standing 6 to 8 inches and weighing 2.5 to 4.5 ounces, they range from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia.)

To us, the Owl of Athens, and the symbol’s association with a highly influential coin, provides the perfect visual touchpoint for Coin Academy. Like the ancient Tetradrachm, the cryptocurrencies of today have the potential to change the way financial transactions occur and provide a completely new way for people, and businesses, to conduct their affairs. Here at Coin Academy, we hope we can help educate people about the opportunities that exist in this new financial world.

 

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