The inscription is
“INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE CHILD 1979” plus the designer’s initials “MRW” (Mel
MW4 “INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE CHILD 1979”
In 1979, I created the first of several counterstamped coins commemorating the visits of Pope John Paul II to various parts of the world. During his pontificate, Pope John Paul II made trips to 129 countries, and was the first pope to visit Mexico--in January 1979—followed by four other trips there.
The design of a Papal Seal features an ombrellino (umbrella), that is carried processionally over the head of the Pope on state occasions, and crossed keys “to the kingdom,” plus the inscription “POPE JOHN PAUL II VISITS MEXICO JAN. 26-31, 1979” and the initials “MRW” of the designer Mel Wacks. The Mexican Pesos used were issued from 1957-67, and have a 10% silver content. After a sell out of 1,979 counterstamped Mexican Silver Pesos, commemorating the Pope’s first trip to Mexico, the die was cancelled.
MW5 “POPE JOHN PAUL II VISITS MEXICO JAN. 26-31, 1979”
(Regular issue on left, coin struck from cancelled die on right.)
The sandwiched planchets for the peso coins have silver on the outside, with base metals (70% copper and 10% zinc) in the center. When this sandwich material was counterstamped over 5% of the coins (about 120) split. These error coins have proven to be popular with collectors.
MW5ERROR “POPE JOHN PAUL II VISITS MEXICO JAN. 26-31, 1979”
in 1979, the Pope made his first of seven trips to the United States,
visiting Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Des Moines and Washington. 1,979 Proof Clad Silver 1967
Kennedy Half Dollars were counterstamped with “POPE JOHN PAUL II VISITS USA OCT. 1-7, 1979” plus the
initials “MRW.” The coat-of-arms of Pope John Paul II is pictured: a miter
(tall, ornamental cap), crossed keys, shield containing a cross, etc.
MW6 “POPE JOHN PAUL II VISITS MEXICO JAN. 26-31, 1979”
A distinctive variety of this commemorative was produced in a smaller quantity exclusively for a European dealer, with the inscription: “ADV. IONNES PAVLVS P.M. USA OCT. 1-7, 1979.”