Richard G. Doty 1942 – 2013


Lee Toone and Dick Doty

Lee Toone and Dick Doty

Sadly, Richard. G. Doty, senior numismatic curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, died on June 2, 2013 after battling lymphoma. As a budding numismatist, I first “met” Dick Doty many years ago  through his books. One in particular sticks in the mind, The Macmillan Encyclopedic Dictionary of Numismatics (1982) which is full of numismatic information that you never knew you needed to know! Years later, in 2011, I was privileged to meet him in person when he showed me around some of the coins in the Smithsonian coin vault. It was my first visit to Washington DC and a mutual friend arranged the visit while my family went off to do more interesting things. Obviously I was stunned by the coins in the trays – amazing rarities from many countries and periods – but it was the stories that Dick imparted while I was examining the coins that made the visit. I fear that I blotted my copy book, however, when I showed my ignorance at not knowing that the first US mint was in Philadelphia!


Since then I have improved my knowledge of early American currency (now reading Dick’s latest banknote book!) and had hoped to meet Dick again on my next trip. Sadly this will not now be possible.  Someone recently said about Dick, “the man’s head is a cabinet of wonders, and he was throwing open all of the drawers”. Fortunately he has left us many books and papers with which he can continue to entertain and educate us all.


An obituary can be found on the Smithsonian site here.

A blog tribute from Smithsonian colleagues can be found here.