Monday, September 23, 2013

The Omega Man Counterfeiter-Courtesy of Altered Dimensions

Omega Man Counterfeiter

// December 26th, 2012 // Unsolved

Omega marking on a counterfeit coin

Omega Man Counterfeiter

Front of counterfeit Omega Man coinIn the early 1970’s, ANACS (American Numismatic Association Certification Service) noticed an unusually high number of “high relief” coins entering the market. High relief coins are coins that are struck multiple times to produce extremely clear, concise contours. Suspicious that an unusually high quality counterfeiter could be the culprit, they began careful examination of the coins. If it weren’t for a minute “omega” symbol in the claw of the eagle on the coin, they would have never known they were counterfeits.

Back of Omega Man countefeit coinLike paper money, coins are often counterfeited. In almost all cases, they are very easy to spot, especially by expert coin examiners such as ANACS, using high magnification lenses and microscopic examination equipment. Counterfeit coins are often molded rather than struck with a press such as those used by United States mints to produce American coinage. The molded varieties always leave tell-tale signs that they are a fake. Bubbles and unusual markings that could not possibly be produced with a coin press are dead giveaways that the coin is a fake. The Omega coins on the other hand, are indistinguishable from the real thing.

The counterfeiter was dubbed the “Omega Man”. It is believed that his coins are identical to the real thing except for the omega symbol that he arrogantly leaves as his trademark. The symbol is not visible to the naked eye and can only be seen under high magnification.  In most cases the omega symbol was placed near the eagle’s claw on the back of the coin but in at least two cases the symbol was placed within the upper loop of the “R” in the word “liberty” on the front of the coin.

It is believed that the Omega Man has created over 20,000 fake 1907 ultra high-relief United States $20 gold Double Eagle coins worth well over $300 million dollars. His forgeries are of such a high quality that collectors will pay in excess of $1,000 for a single counterfeit coin (the real coins retail for nearly $100,000).

The Omega man has also counterfeited other US coins including a large quantity of $3 gold pieces, dated 1874, 1878, and 1882 (with the 1882 version being the most prevalent). He has also counterfeited $10 gold pieces, the 1913-P and 1926-P, both of which have the “Omega” placed upside down within the upper loop of the “R” in “Liberty” in the Indian’s headdress.

The identity of the Omega Man is still unknown.

Omega marking on a counterfeit coin

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