Ken Aring and Ken Spindler submitted the following information about longtime researcher Stewart Westdal, who passed away last month.
Accomplished and versatile numismatic researcher Stewart John Westdal passed away at his home in San Diego, CA on 9/28/2015, at age 77,
after a prolonged illness. He was born in North Dakota in 1938 and grew up there. He met his future wife, Bobbie, at George Washington University in
Washington, D.C. He graduated in 1962, majoring in history, with a focus on ancient and medieval eras. Stewart spent 4 years in the Army, including 2
years in Germany, then he and his wife moved to San Diego, where he earned a teaching credential and a master’s degree.
From 1970-1974 he ran a small coin shop in downtown San Diego. After working 20 years with university and government education programs,
in 1993 he joined Ponterio & Associates auction house, where he wrote essays for catalogues and catalogued an almost unlimited range of
coins, paper money, medals, tokens, and awards and decorations. He was relied upon heavily for ancient, medieval, Islamic, Indian, and
Asian material. Stewart was always in a jovial mood. He finally retired in 2009.
Stewart’s contributions to the Standard Catalogs of both coins and paper money were acknowledged in those volumes for many years,
and he is still cited in some of the latest editions. He was largely responsible for the Iceland section of Standard Catalog of World
Paper Money. In 1975 Stewart founded the Ancient Numismatic Society of San Diego, and remained an active member until his illness. He
was a long-term member the International Bank Note Society and founded its Southern California Chapter in 2008.
Stewart’s personal numismatic interests included Byzantine coins, especially unusual denominations, and the medals and decorations of
church orders. He and his wife traveled the world widely, including a visit to Iceland in 1999, where he established a valuable contact
with a bank employee who was a collector, who continued to correspond with him to assist him with his research. Stewart was proud of his
Icelandic heritage and was writing a book on Icelandic paper money when he became ill. He was also very interested in books about the
history behind the coins. Some of his interest in Chinese material was sparked by a trip to western China.
The breadth of Stewart’s interests is shown by this list of his publications:
- Dictionary of Roman Coin Inscriptions, Sanford Durst, 1982. (Earlier editions were published under the title A Guidebook
for the Identification of Roman Coin Inscriptions, 1971, 1973, 1977.)
- A Cross-reference Index to V. I. Petrov’s Catalog des Monnaies Russes, self-published, 1980.
- “The Badges of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem” Journal of the Orders and Medals Society of America, 1998.
- “Emperor Pu-Yi (Hsuan-t'ung): From Emperor to Prisoner to Citizen to Emperor to Prisoner to Citizen”) http://www.cdot.org/links/emperor_pu_yi.htm (originally for Ponterio & Associates,
A funeral Mass was held on Oct. 16 at Our Mother of Confidence Catholic Church in San Diego. In lieu of flowers, a donation in memory of
Stewart Westdal to support Alzheimer’s disease research at UCSD, Attn: Beth Green, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093, would be
(Information assembled by Ken Aring and Ken Spindler)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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