Alan Luedeking wrote that " one of the great stalwarts of numismatic knowledge and research and literature has left us — Dale Seppa."
Alan passed along Al Buonaguro's tribute to Seppa which we're publishing here with permission. I've added an image of Dale's book on Ecuadorian coins.
A Tribute To Dale Seppa (1940 – 2023)
For many decades the name Dale Seppa has been synonymous with Ecuadorian numismatics.
He was the go-to dealer for this complex numismatic specialty. His recent passing leaves a real
void. For many years I collaborated and corresponded with Dale. Let this reminiscence be a
fitting tribute and final farewell.
I never met Dale Seppa. That might seem like an odd start to a tribute so let me explain. In the
1960s I was a novice collector just developing an interest in Latin American coinage. I quickly
discovered Dale's extensive and informative price lists. I got on his mailing list, became a
customer and bought all of the many books he co-authored. In the course of business, I would
sometimes pose a question about some item and was impressed that I always got a thoughtful
response. Thus began our correspondence.
At some point he stated some specific research interests of his and sought input from those
who might be able to contribute useful information. Dale had a knack of posing a research goal
in so enticing a fashion as to motivate you to join the effort. I soon learned that he had a
lengthy rolodex of knowledgeable numismatists that he could call upon. Although I only made
a small contribution of data to this particular project, I learned a lot from the experience
especially the exposure to the inputs of the best numismatic minds in this field.
When personal computers came along and E-mail became the norm, our correspondence
mushroomed. Dale seemed to have an endless number of interesting and challenging
numismatic questions to pose. I learned much from the resulting dialog. Over the ensuing
years, we discussed many numismatic topics and sometimes non numismatic matters too. We
opined about current affairs, the state of the world, economic trends and eventually even
personal interests and activities. He had become more than a numismatic pen pal. He had
become a friend.
In the past year I sensed that he was becoming more conscious of his mortality. He would
sometimes quip about the next plane of existence. I discouraged such talk. Just several months
before his death, he sent me an extensive group of computer files containing images of
nineteenth century Ecuadorean ministerial documents. I was extremely pleased to have this
rich research material and honored that he felt I would organize and preserve it and ultimately
put it to good use. I avoided contemplating the potentially ominous implication of his action.
Not long afterward he sent me several books, autographed to him, written by an author we
both admired. Again, I was pleased to have the books and again I didn't read the tea leaves.
The last project we collaborated on involved some modern replicas of very rare coinage
associated with the final days of the Quito Mint. Dale was trying to find a reliable source of
these replicas and to assess their origin and numismatic merits. I analyzed a number of these
items and sent Dale detailed reports about them which I know he appreciated. His last E-mail
to me, sent just a week before his passing, was to encourage me to publish an article on this
subject. I will write that article and, when published, dedicate to Dale's memory.
So, it wasn't necessary to have met Dale in person. Our longstanding correspondence fed a
quest for knowledge and nurtured a friendship that enriched the spirit. It ought to remind us
that numismatics is more than hyperventilating about the latest shattering of price records or
dissecting the latest marketing strategy but can, and should, be a pleasant pastime that fosters
learning and camaraderie. I was fortunate to have enjoyed that pleasant pastime.
I will miss Dale. I am saddened that his name no longer appears in my Inbox. I regret the end
of a fruitful avenue of numismatic learning. Still, the sorrow is overshadowed by the reality that
knowing Dale made me a smarter collector and helped me hone some numismatic skills. For
that I will always be grateful. Rest in peace, my friend.
To read some earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
ECUADOR – RECENT UNOFFICIAL ISSUES
NEW BOOK: ECUADORIAN COINS
NEW BOOK: STANDARD CATALOG OF ECUADORIAN COINS
Wayne Homren, Editor
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