The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 24, Number 2, January 10, 2021, Article 9

DAVID FIERO (1950-2020)

Dale Seppa submitted this remembrance of numismatist David Brian Fiero. Thanks. -Editor

David Fiero

David Fiero, PhD, numismatist, author, teacher and friend passed away on December 28, 2020 at 11:20 am. His five-year-long ordeal with Multiple Myeloma and Bladder Cancer finally came to an end. David was 70 years old and despite a successful stem cell transplant at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in 2015 his final years were marked by chronic pain.

He met his wife Petra when she was nineteen, on her very first day at the University of Regensburg; the two were linked for nearly forty years by their dedication to educating students of English, Spanish, and German at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Western Washington University in Bellingham. David had inspired her and many of his other students to study abroad.

David pursued his hobby of collecting coins with extraordinary passion. He earned his PhD in Modern Languages and Literatures (Spanish) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1997 with his dissertation Don Quijote: A Numismatic and Economic Analysis --Literary Images of Coinage, Wealth and Poverty. He was ideally suited to write about this topic since he was able to combine his love of literature with his tremendous knowledge of the economic circumstances and coinage of the Golden Age in Spain. During the last five years he rewrote his thesis under the title Tilting at a Numismatic Windmill: The World of Don Quixote in Coins, Medals, Tokens and Banknotes. Much of his time in retirement was spent acquiring and inserting photographs of the precious coins he was writing about in that work.

I often sought David's advice and in particular took advantage of his Spanish to English translating skills when I encountered archaic or highly technical sections that were simply beyond my ability to confidently translate. His book reviews were legion and a simple search on the Newman Numismatic Portal reveals more than a dozen articles and book reviews, and this list is far from complete.

Because of my personal interests his introduction to Michael Anderson's book A Numismatic History of Ecuador was one of my favorites. It was entitled "Eyes Open, Ears Wide Shut: Ecuador's Struggle in the Nineteenth Century. Responsible 'Minthood' or Quixotic 'Enchantment'". It was subsequently republished as a stand-alone article in World Coin News. In only ten pages David was able to cogently synthesize the history of the Quito Mint, the overall monetary situation and many of the political factors involved in Ecuador's monetary history.

Brent Carbajal, the Provost of Western Washington University in Bellingham, said the following in a letter of condolence to Petra: "I think I am perhaps better positioned than anyone to describe David's numismatic knowledge and love of coins. I think you know it to be true of me that I'm not given to exaggeration or effusive emotion. From there, I will offer that there has never been and will never be anyone who loves coins more than David. David was an authentic numismatist, yes! He was also a true coin collector and didn't resent that title. I have read many books and talked to many people about coins. I don't expect to ever meet anyone more knowledgeable about coins and their role in history than David. I learned so much from David and actually acquired a life-long passion for coins myself, feeling privileged to have learned from the best. I will forever cherish our trips to coin shows together and will never forget his teachings. In fact, coins will simply always remind me of David."

David was a voracious reader to the last day of his life. He studied the newspaper every day from beginning to end and would watch the PBS News Hour every night to know what was going on in the world. He read books in English, Spanish or German on a variety of subjects. He was intrigued by stories of explorers of the wild regions of the world, by history books, great literature on any subject and kept increasing his knowledge of the world that way.

Other aspects of David's were his love for the wilds of the Northwest, his walking and swimming endurance, and his nearly professional bicycling ability. He was also an accomplished guitarist and founded the duo "The Primitives" with Kendall Whitney. He is missed by his wife, my wife, me, many numismatists, as well as dozens of his close friends and associates. He will be mourned by many but never forgotten.

To read Fiero's online obituary, see:
David Brian Fiero 1950 - 2020 (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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