WASHINGTON — Richard Doty, a scholar of money who helped humanize coins and currency by showing how the objects might reflect the culture, values, and history of a society, died June 2 at the Powhatan Nursing Home in Falls Church, Va. He was 71.
The cause was complications from lymphoma, said his wife, Cindi Roden.
Dr. Doty was the senior numismatic curator at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. He was really a historian, more than a numismatist, said Ute Wartenberg Kagan, executive director of the American Numismatic Society. ‘‘He interpreted the coins, and that made him very special.’’
William Metcalf, curator of coins and medals at the Yale University Art Gallery, called Dr. Doty ‘‘a great popularizer of the discipline’’ through his nine books and several hundred scholarly articles.
Dr. Doty was considered one of the top numismatists in the world. Most numismatics specialize in a geographical area or a certain time period, but Dr, Doty’s ‘‘Renaissance personality’’ drove him to learn everything he could about coins and paper money and what stories they told about their time periods, said Karen Lee, a curator with the Smithsonian’s National Numismatic Collection and a colleague for 10 years.
His 1998 book, ‘‘The Soho Mint & the Industrialization of Money,’’ explored important links between an 18th-century British inventor’s use of steam power rather than manual labor to make coins and the influence of that breakthrough on minting worldwide.