Dick Johnson, first Coin World editor and medallic Specialist, passes

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D. Wayne (Dick) Johnson passed away on Dec. 29 at Connecticut at age 90. He had been Coin World’s very first editor, joining the staff in early 1960.

Mr. Johnson was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on Aug. 27, 1930. He graduated from Washington University at St. Louis and served together with the U.S. Air Force and National Security Agency.

He became interested in coins as a kid at age 9 years of age. His later interest in publishing comprised a position as editor and writer of Pace and Coin Wholesaler, and he published the Numismatic Directory in 1957. He became the advertising manager for its Kansas City Kansan paper until the Chance to start Coin World appeared in late 1959. Johnson recounted that experience in a January 16, 2017, post from the E-Sylum.

“They found me by a tip by (Dayton coin trader ) Jim Kelly. At the time I was on the staff of a daily paper in Kansas City. I had started work there as a classified ad salesman, was so eager to succeed that I outsold two other salesmen. Within nine months I was promoted head of this department handling eight girls and the 2 guys.

J. Oliver Amos and Cecil Watkins, by the Sidney newspaper, met with me personally for an all-day meeting at the airport at Chicago. It was my dream to be an editor of a coin book since I was in high school 20 years before. I did my very best selling project: a coin collector since age nine, on staff of a newspaper, had both editorial and advertising expertise, understood all significant coin traders having been to dozens of coin conventions, was a part of major coin institutions, and I had a massive library. I outlined how I would collect news”

Mr. Johnson’s enthusiasm for medallic arts later led him into a position as manager of research with Medallic Art Co., later serving as business historian and senior adviser for the business. Mr. Johnson was the author of many works and articles, including the 2015 Who’s Who Among American Medalists, and he maintained that a research database site.

He had been a founding member of the Rittenhouse Society and started the Middle Atlantic Numismatic Association.

He was married to Shirley in November 1959, whom he met while both worked with the Kansas City Kansan. She survives and they have three kids.

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