Diane Wolf Pushed
for Coinage Redesign
By STEPHEN MILLER
Diane Wolf, who
died January 10, was a
philanthropist based in Manhattan
and Washington, D.C., who once
made headlines for masterminding a
plan to resign America's currency.
Wolf died at 53 during a medical
procedure at NewYork-Presbyterian
Hospital, her family said.
While serving as a presidential
appointee of the U.S. Commission
of Fine Arts in the 1980s, Wolf
became an advocate for redesigning
the nation's coinage. "The designs
are nice, but they're dull and
outdated," she told the Los
Angeles Times at the time.
Under Wolf's energetic
supervision, Senator Cranston of
California backed the scheme,
which included adding themes
related to the 200th anniversary
of the Bill of Rights to the
reverse sides of pennies, nickels,
dimes, and quarters. The
presidential portraits on the
obverse were to be updated as
Wolf believed that the plan would
bring hundreds of millions of
dollars in profits as collectors
stockpiled the new issues.
The proposal passed the Senate
several times, but failed to pass
muster in the House of
Representatives. "One Congressman
there always claimed she wanted to
remove 'In God We Trust,'" Wolf's
father, Erving Wolf, said.
Wolf, who was a graduate of the
Georgetown University Law Center
but never practiced, treated her
job on the Fine Arts commission as
a full-time job, her father said.
She also sat on the boards of the
National Archives, the Kennedy
Center, and National Public Radio.
In New York, she was a benefactor
of the Metropolitan Museum of Art,
the Frick, and the Whitney.
Born March 16, 1954, in Cheyenne,
Wyo., Wolf was raised in Denver.
Her father was an oil executive.
She got a bachelor's degree from
the University of Pennsylvania and
a master's degree in early
childhood education. She taught
briefly at an East Side private
school before studying law. Wolf
is survived by her parents, Erving
and Joyce Wolf of Manhattan, and
two brothers, Daniel and Matthew.