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The Omega Man Counterfeiter creates counterfeit coins so perfect that the only way to detect his fakes is with a microscope.

Omega sign on a coin created by the Omega Man Counterfeiter

Omega Man Counterfeiter creates coins indistinguishable from the real thing.

Omega Man Counterfeiter

In 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.

Like 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 fake. Bubbles and unusual markings that could not 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.

A tell-tale symbol

Omega Man Counterfeiter

The first authenticator to spot the forgery said that at a higher magnification, he noted a tiny mark on the eagle’s feathers. At first, he thought it was a “lint mark”. Then he found another coin with the same mark inside the eagle’s claw. In his report, he noted there was a “skull and crossbones-like mark” in the claw. His supervisor immediately recognized the mark as the Greek letter OMEGA.

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.

You can compare a real 1907 Double Eagle coin vs. an Omega Man counterfeit Double Eagle coin below.

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Real (left) vs. Omega Man (right)

Over 20,000 fake coins created

Omega Man Counterfeiter coin (front)

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 more than $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.

Who is the Omega Man?

Omega Man Counterfeiter coin (back)

Some theorize the Omega Man may be a group of counterfeiters, not a single person. This would help explain the expert engraving and manufacturing excellence which would be easier to pull off if multiple people worked together.

Others propose the Omega Man is using presses smuggled from a U.S. Mint or someone with detailed knowledge of how coin presses are made. If the press is a custom machine, it would still require an excellent engraver to create the die used to punch out the coin.

The identity of the Omega Man is still unknown.

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