CHICAGO, IL – It is called the Net Zero Coin and it commemorates one of history’s most astonishing finds: the Antikythera Mechanism. Revealed at an invite-only affair held at Greektown’s National Hellenic Museum in early December, the limited edition coin is available for purchase, said its creator Terry Poulos, Founder and President of The Sports Index Inc., a startup bellwhether composite index for the sports industry.
Depicting the Antikythera Mechanism on one side and the symbol “Pi” on the other, the Net Zero Coin comes with its own certificate of authenticity doubling as a “Bond of Charter Membership” for The Sports Index Inc. “I commemorated the Antikythera Mechanism with what I believe is the world’s first-ever coin to depict an image of the device,” Poulos said. Minted at the Northwest Territorial Mint in Washington DC, the copper base coins are silver-plated with 24 carat gold accents. A total of 1,000 were created about the size of a Kennedy Silver Dollar and debuted at a selling price of $157 – or half of 314 – representing the 3.14 value of “Pi.”
Poulos at the Museum also revealed a sculpture he designed in honor of the invention sponge divers recovered in 1901 from a shipwreck off the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera. The ancient clockwork mechanism itself computed astronomical positions and eclipses, also tracking the date of Olympic Games with a complex design that was not equaled until over 1,000 years after the estimated date of its invention.
An expedition to survey the shipwreck site was performed in October to shed further light into the history of the mechanism. Headed by the Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in collaboration with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, and with the support of the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, divers are set to go back for a second phase of underwater excavation.
Mentioned in the New York Times, a new study redating the mechanism to 205 BC – less than ten years after the death of Archimedes – has uncovered profound insight leading some to believe Archimedes himself may have been the mechanism’s chief designer. “I am making a huge contention tying in Archimedes with this coin,” Poulos said. “Ten years is a .05 % margin of error. He may be the one who made that mechanism.”
Renowned as the greatest mathematician of antiquity, Archimedes of Syracuse proved a range of geometrical theorems and is credited with discovering the Archimedes Principle on buoyancy, as well as the value of “Pi.” His life was ended by a Roman soldier in 212 BC.
“You have to think that it’s in our DNA that we can revive this sort of renaissance,” Poulos said. “Archimedes was sort of the Einstein and Tesla of his day. There are less than 10 of these seminal figures in history. Archimedes was a mathematician and an inventor. He kind of teased his readers with games and enigmas. He took mathematics and made them work in the real world,” he added.
Honoring the great inventor, there’s more to the coin, Poulos explained, that meets the eye. In fact, each piece is part of an esoteric “Archimedes Coin Code Challenge” which includes clues and codes embedded in the coins, cards, and sculpture debuted at the Museum. With more such clues set to appear on a website beginning next year, this is part of a game Poulos hopes will entice members to solve his very own puzzle.
Among notable attendees at the Net Zero Coin’s debut were FOX 32 Sports Anchor Lou Canellis, Commissioner at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago Mariyana Spyropoulos, and Chairman of Tomaras Investments and Founder of the Pan Hellenic Scholarship Foundation Chris P. Tomaras.
The Net Zero Coin is fundraising product of The Sports Index Inc. So what inspired Poulos to launch the startup? “So we live in Chicago and have the Chicago Bulls and Bears. It just so happens those are metaphors for the stock market – the bull bear market,” Poulos noted. “Maybe after decades and decades of having those images indoctrinated into my mind, I came up with the Sports Index concept.”
Aside from its aesthetic values, the Net Zero Coin is meant to teach stock market and financial literacy principles, Poulos noted. “Even though it’s not legal tender, it does have a face value,” he said. “I don’t think that anyone in the history of the world has ever put two different numbers on a coin.”
A collector’s item and commemorative piece, Poulos claims the coin is the fist of its type. “To my knowledge, this is the first coin in the history of the world to be a net value coin…a net value of zero,” he said. “I actually created a new genre of coin.”
With the going trend toward acquiring specialty items, Poulos anticipates the coin will receive attention from a national audience. “With the frenzy and excitement over digital and alternative currencies, there’s a lot of potential in that space,” he said. “It’s inevitable that sooner or later these alternative forms of currencies will replace older forms. You can’t hold back the tide of the future,” he added.
His target audience is Greeks and numismatic enthusiasts, among other interested parties. Going beyond design, “it’s kind of a political statement,” Poulos asserted. “Some people might look at this as counterculture. I don’t want to say that we are challenging anything, but the stock market is a zero sum game, so the net zero coin exemplifies that.”