social event of 1981 was the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. Twenty
year-old Diana became The Princess of Wales when she married Charles on July
29, 1981 at St Paul's Cathedral, which offered more seating than Westminster
Abbey, generally used for royal nuptials. This "fairytale wedding,"
was watched by a global television audience of about 750 million.
And so I
counterstamped brilliant uncirculated Canadian Silver Dollars, which featured a
portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, with St. Paul's Cathedral, the inscription
“PRINCE CHARLES & LADY DIANA 7·29 1981,” and “© WACKS.” A maximum of 1,000
were authorized but fewer were actually made.
MW14 “PRINCE CHARLES & LADY DIANA 7·29 1981”
O'Connor was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Reagan on August 19, 1981, thus
fulfilling his 1980 campaign promise to appoint the first woman to the highest
court in the United States.
This was the
inspiration for another counterstamped coin, with a maximum issue of 500. The
design features a standing portrayal of a blindfolded representation of Justice
holding scales in one hand and a sword in the other; the inscription is “SANDRA
DAY O’CONNOR EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW 1981” plus the designer’s initials “MRW.”
The coins used were Proof 1971 Eisenhower Silver Dollars. During her 25-year
tenure, O’Connor was regarded as the Court's leading centrist, and was the
swing vote in many cases; this made her the most powerful justice for many
years. In 2001, the Ladies' Home Journal ranked her as the
second-most-powerful woman in America.
MW15 “SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER
In 1982, the fourth Pope John
Paul II counterstamp was issued in a maximum edition of 750 pieces, using
uncirculated 1967 British Pennies. The design consists of a globus cruciger
(orb), a sphere surmounted by a cross. The orb is a Christian religious symbol, representing the
Monarch's role as Defender of the Faith and as Head of the Church of England.
It symbolizes the stated purpose of the Pope’s trip to lead to “a new
relationship … as a next stage towards Christian unity.”
The counterstamp inscription is “POPE
JOHN PAUL II VISITS ENGLAND 1982” plus tiny “MW” for the designer Mel Wacks.
“POPE JOHN PAUL II VISITS ENGLAND
Adam Cool was able to show
off his engraving skills again, with the design of George Washington’s home at
Mt. Vernon on counterstamped Bicentennial Eisenhower Silver Dollars celebrating
the 250th anniversary of our first President’s birth. In 1754, George Washington,
as executor of his brother's estate, arranged to lease "Mount Vernon"
that December. Later, he bought his sister-in-law's life estate and became
owner of the property. In 1757, Washington began the first of two major
additions and improvements to the home. The second expansion was begun shortly
before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. On those occasions he entirely
rebuilt the main house atop the original foundations, doubling its size each
The counterstamp is
appropriately inscribed “GEORGE WASHINGTON
FEB. 22, 1732-1982” plus a large “250” and 13 stars, and the designer initials
“MW.” Fewer than the maximum of 1,000 were issued.
MW17 “GEORGE WASHINGTON FEB. 22, 1732-1982”
trio of counterstamped coins was produced to commemorate the 1984 Los Angeles
Olympics, with maximum mintages of 2,000 each: Ancient runners and a modern
weight-lifter, respectively, on proof 1971 Eisenhower Silver Dollars, and the
Olympic torch on brilliant uncirculated 1776-1976 Bicentennial Kennedy half
dollars, inscribed “LOS ANGELES GAMES ●
SUMMER 1984” and XXIII, or something similar. The Runners counterstamp was
designed by Mel Wacks (MRW), while the Weightlifter and Olympic Flame were
designed by Alex Shagin (ASH).
running star of the XXIII Olympiad was Carl
Lewis, who equaled the performance of Jesse Owens in the 1936 Games, winning
four gold medals in the 100 m, 200 m, 4x100 m relay; and the long jump.
MW18 “LOS ANGELES GAMES ●
SUMMER 1984” (Olympic Runners)
The weightlifting competition at the 1984 Summer Olympics consisted of ten
weight classes, all for men only. The Soviet boycott meant that the most
dominant force in weightlifting at the time, the USSR did not take part—and so
the main medal winners were China (6) and Romania (8).
MW19 “1984 LOS ANGELES ●
SUMMER GAMES” (Olympic Weightlifter)
Olympic Torch Relay began in New York City and ended in Los Angeles, traversing
33 states and the District of Columbia. The torch was continuously carried by
runners (a total of 3,616) on foot. Rafer Johnson, winner of the decathlon at
the 1960 Summer Olympics, was the final runner. He touched off a flame which
passed through a specially designed Olympic logo, igniting all five rings. The
flame then passed up to a cauldron and remained lit for the duration of the
MW20 “LOS ANGELES SUMMER GAMES XXIII ● ‘84” (Olympic
last counterstamp in this series commemorated the 100th anniversary
of the birth of the 33rd President, Harry S. Truman.
featured another masterpiece of the engraver’s art by Adam Cool – the Truman
home in Independence, Missouri – plus the inscription “HARRY S.
TRUMAN CENTENNIAL MAY 8, 1884
● 1984” and the designer’s initials “MW.” Fewer than
1,000 were stamped on proof 1971 Eisenhower Silver Dollars.
(also called the Truman Home), 219 North Delaware Street, Independence,
Missouri, was the home of Harry S. Truman, after his marriage to Bess Wallace
on June 28, 1919 until his death on December 26, 1972. Bess Truman's maternal
grandfather, George Porterfield Gates, had built the house over a period of
years from 1867 to 1895.
MW21 “HARRY S. TRUMAN CENTENNIAL MAY 8, 1884 ● 1984”
It was fun creating the ideas
for these counterstamped coins and seeing them come to life thanks to the
talents of engraver Adam Cool--and is very satisfying to see interest in them
25 years later as witnessed by their appearance from time-to-time on ebay, the
U.S. Coin Forum of Collectors Universe, etc.
But wait, there’s more