Understanding Jewelry Making And Care

The Perfect Counterfiet: Spotting The Omega Man's Fake Double Eagle Coins

Even novice coin collectors know that counterfeit coins are a very real threat among numismatics. They know that they've got to inspect collection pieces carefully before they buy them or risk paying big money for coins that that are not real minted pieces and can't be resold as such. Some counterfeit coins, however, can trick even the most seasoned of coin experts -- the Omega Man's Saint Gaudens double eagles being among the most noteworthy of hard-to-spot fakes. Read on to learn who the Omega Man was and why you should be ever-so-cautious of American double eagle coins.

Who Was The Omega Man?

Dubbed the "Omega Man", nobody knows if this person was really a man or woman. Nobody knows where they lived, what they did for work, or at what age their shenanigans began. What is known about this character, however, is that they created some of the finest, most detailed counterfeit pieces to ever invade the numismatic scene. In fact, the Omega Man's 1907 Saint Guadens double eagle knock-offs were so good that they almost passed inspection by the American Numismatic Association Certification Service (ANACS).

What Makes The Double Eagle Counterfeits So Hard To Spot?

The Omega Man's double eagle coins aren't made of cheap metals or on shabby presses. These exquisite pieces are thought to be identical in nearly every single way to real-deal double eagle coins. They have the same metal content, and they're produced using the same multi-strike press techniques that give real double eagle coins their high detail and deep textures. The only thing different about these pieces is that an inconspicuous Greek letter (omega) was placed upon them at their time of creation. This letter, though, can only be seen under magnification and is sometimes scuffed off by dishonest coin dealers in an effort to pass the fakes off as real double eagles.

How Can You Protect Yourself From Purchasing An Omega Man Coin?

The first thing you should know here is that it's not always a bad idea to purchase an Omega Man coin, as long as you know that's what you're buying. The expertise that went into producing these coins does give them some value, so they're considered collection pieces by many numismatics. Real, U.S.-minted double eagle coins are worth nearly $100,000, but the Omega Man's knock-offs will still fetch $1,000 or more. If you find an Omega Man coin in good shape for less than $1,000, you can feel safe in knowing that you probably won't take a loss if you buy it and decide to sell it at any point in the future.

If you find a double eagle coin that's being sold as U.S.-minted, though, then you've really got to take the time to examine the piece. Familiarize yourself with the Greek letter omega. You'll need to examine the coin under a jewelry loupe to spot it if it's on the coin. It's most often found on the eagle's talon, but don't rule out finding it in another spot on the coin. You should also be looking for tiny, concentrated scuff marks where the letter may have been rubbed off in an effort to make the coin appear real.

If you don't have a jewelry loupe, you can craft a high-powered lens on the cheap with a laser pointer, a bobby pin, and your smartphone's camera. Just remove the lens from the laser pointer, place it between the prongs of the bobby pin, and then tape the bobby pin to your phone so that the laser pointer lens is directly over your smartphone lens.

Some counterfeit coins are easy to spot, but others are so well done that even life-long coin collectors drop the ball. Beware the Omega Man and never buy a Saint-Gaudens double eagle coin unless you've first examined it closely under a high-powered lens. For more information about collectible coins, check out the sites of coin dealers near you.