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Pope's visit celebrated

Here it is two week’s after the American Numismatic Association began its convention in Rosemont, Ill., and I am still coming up with topics that came my way there that I have not had a chance to address.

But is that a surprise?

One of the purposes of the ANA convention is to let other hobbyists know what’s cooking. Buying and selling is the focus, but future buying and selling is what comes about during plans made or announced at the ANA.

I had a great talk with Mel Wacks.

He is going back to his roots to observe an important event in our future.

For the first time in over three decades, he is going to produce counterstamped U.S. coins.

Mel Wacks' counterstamped half dollars commemorate Pope Francis' first visit to the U.S. in September.

Mel Wacks' counterstamped half dollars commemorate Pope Francis' first visit to the U.S. in September.

These coins will commemorate the visit to America of Pope Francis Sept. 22-27.

No more than 500 Brilliant Uncirculated 2015 Kennedy half dollars (both “P” and “D”) will be counterstamped with the Coat of Arms of Pope Francis with his personal motto below: Miserando atque eligendo (Latin for “By giving mercy and by choosing”).

Wacks said the Coat of Arms displays three emblems. In reference to Francis being a Jesuit, the uppermost emblem – a radiating sun, within which is the IHS christogram (a monogram of the Holy Name of Jesus – is that of the Society of Jesus. Below the Jesuit emblem is an eight-pointed star, which is a long-standing symbol of the Virgin Mary, and a spikenard (or nard flower) representing Saint Joseph. External ornaments include the Papal miter above and the crossed keys of Saint Peter with cords.

The circumferential inscription reads: ‘POPE FRANCIS VISITS USA/SEPT. 22-27, 2015, and Mel Wacks’ initials “MRW” are below the shield.

Price is $39.50 postpaid from Mel Wacks, 5189 Jeffdale Ave., Woodland Hills, CA 91364, or telephone (818) 225-1348.

Mention my blog and Numismatic News and get a 25 percent discount. That is worth my mentioning it.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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