Dr. Richard G. Doty, A Reminiscence

Richard G. (“Dick”) Doty was a personal friend of mine for many years and was
widely admired by all who knew him. As an associate curator of the National
Numismatic Collection in the Smithsonian Institution, then head curator, from
1986 onward he planned exhibits and programs that added much to numismatics.

I had
many occasions to visit Dick behind the scenes at the Smithsonian—including
helping with research, studying coins, and at one time immersing myself and two
helpers scanning and identifying nearly 7,000 obsolete bank notes, most of
which had not been attributed (Whitman Publishing funded this project). This
led to my writing a definitive book on the history of the National Numismatic
Collection, going back to the establishment of the Smithsonian in the 1840s and
the separate founding and expansion of the Mint Cabinet in Philadelphia. This
manuscript will include a section by Jeff Garrett describing American coin
highlights of the collection and is scheduled to be published by Whitman in
2017. It will be dedicated to Dick’s memory, as he was essential in its

wrote several books that became standard references. For his last, Pictures
from a Distant Country: Seeing America through Old Paper Money,
he invited me to write the foreword. In the
summer of 2012 he was diagnosed with lymphoma. Ever the optimist he felt that
this, too, would pass as he sought treatment. Visitors to his office had no
reason to think anything was amiss.

In February 2013 Dick and I planned my next visit
to the Smithsonian. He picked a date in March and called back stating that a
reservation had been made at Fogo de Chao, one of his favorite restaurants in
Washington. I intended to bring Tom Jurkowsky of the U.S. Mint with me, to
discuss Mint and Smithsonian interface. Then came the news that Dick was
hospitalized. The dinner never happened. On June 2 at the age of 71 he passed
away. In August at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money I
and some other of his friends planned and conducted a memorial service in his

Later, his widow, Cindi Rodin, invited Christine
Karstedt and I to come to review the coins and other items in his numismatic
estate. We did this, and suggested in which direction certain coins, tokens,
medals, and paper money should be placed or donated. Cindi wanted other items
to be offered at auction. Our official auction of the January New York
International Numismatic Convention includes such selections.

—Dave Bowers

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