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09 Sep 2017

The Omega Man Counterfeiter

Young Numismatists Exchange | user_8029

The Omega Man Counterfeiter

                This article is an interesting one. It is about a counterfeiter of coins named after his trademark, an omega sign. In this article, I will tell of the history of this counterfeiter and how the symbol is placed on the coins that he makes. This is something I had never heard of until I was researching my article about counterfeit detection of the Indian Head Quarter Eagles. The most interesting part of the whole thing is that he was never caught.

                The Omega Counterfeiter was amazing at making fake coins look real. They look so realistic, in fact, that if the counterfeiter hadn’t put his characteristic omega symbol hidden on the coins that he illegally replicated, not all of the coins that he made might have been distinguished from the US Mint made ones. The Omega Man Counterfeiter is famous for his 1907 Ultra High Relief Double Eagles, though he did counterfeit other coins. Another coin that this relatively famous counterfeiter made often was the 1882 Three Dollar Gold Coin. This coin is mistaken for a genuine so often that NGC put the ‘Omega Man’s’ counterfeits on the top ten most seen counterfeits of theirs. This exhibits the quality of these coins.

                However good these Three Dollar Gold coins are, the ones that the ‘Omega Man’ is the most known for are his 1907 Extremely High Reliefs. He made so many of them that all of them together is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. These coins, however good they are, are one thing that will let you know whether or not your coin is genuine or not. It is the counterfeiter’s characteristic Omega symbol. It is unknown why he put this symbol on his otherwise well-made counterfeits, though it makes it much easier for us to see which are fake. The Omega symbol is very faint on these coins, and are in a few specific locations. For the 1907 coins, the symbol is in the claw of the eagle, for the Three Dollar Coin, it is in the loop of the ‘R’ in Liberty. He made some ten dollar coins, as well, and 1910, 1913 and 1926 coins of this series, the symbol is also in the Omega.

                The Omega Man was a very successful counterfeiter and has made hundreds of coins, some of which have probably not been found. If you are lucky enough to own any of these coins, it is worth a check. If you do, it is a shame, though these coins still sell for a couple thousand even if they are declared fakes, for the history.

http://www.wow.com/wiki/The_Omega_Man_(counterfeiter)

Look at my sources for the Indian Head Quarter Eagle

http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v15n49a16.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coin_counterfeiting#Collectible_counterfeit_coins

I apologize if I have not used many books, but my library doesn’t have many coin books, and I usually buy a coin instead of a book. I should start using the ANA library, though.

Comments

user_2738

Level 2

A long time ago I bought a US 1909-P $10 gold Indian. At the time there was no slabbing of coins but the piece is probably around 62 or 63 grade. About 25 years ago a US coin dealer told me that it was an Omega counterfeit. Since I can't sell it and I can't spend it, I was thinking of throwing it away until I ran across this article. Interesting that it's worth something apparently.

Numinerd9

Level 5

There are some other die markers to look for on the Omega Saint-Gaudens pieces; the omega symbol is just the dead give away, but there are a few other areas that show imperfections, and once you know what they are, it's hard to forget them. But with that being said, that coin, as well as the $3 Omega fakes are pretty decent copies that fool a lot of people. Take the counterfeit detection class taught primarily by Brian Silliman - it will scare and anger you at the same time that it's teaching and preparing you. Arm yourself with knowledge - the course pays for itself with even just one fake coin purchase that you may be able to avoid! Never underestimate the power of a good numi-education. -Sam Gelberd, ANA Numismatic Educator.

user_9073

Level 5

I enjoy seeing exhibits on the Omega counterfeits but unlike some collectors, I have no interest in owning one. If I was given one I would immediately sell it to one of the counterfeit collectors. Thanks for the posting.

CoinLady

Level 6

I remember hearing abt this. I guess he signed his work cause he was proud. Don't think he ever got caught.

"SUN"

Level 5

You do a nice job in researching your topic. Thanks

Kepi

Level 6

I remember hearing about the Omega man. Thanks for refreshing my memory. Check out the ANA Library, they have so to offer.

Mike B

Level 6

Famous story the problem I it never ended with the omega man. There all thieves and that's the bottom line. Mike

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