Steve Dance of Fasig-Tipton dies at 78
by Terence Collier
Steve Dance, a senior member of the Fasig-Tipton auction team for five decades, died suddenly Tuesday morning at his home in Jarrettsville, MD, which he shared with his wife Nancy. He was in his 78th year and it was suspected that he had suffered a serious heart attack. Steve worked until the last day of his life and the many sellers and buyers of Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale barely a week ago in Timonium reportedly saw him plying his trade as long standing at the auction stand in its beloved home state.
Hiram “Steve” Dance was born in 1943 in the small country town of Towson, a few miles north of Baltimore. In the late 1940s, ailing thoroughbred auction company Fasig-Tipton appointed Humphrey Finney, another resident of Towson, as president. Although Finney left Towson in 1953, Steve’s uncle, “Laddie” Dance, son of Humphrey, John Finney and Larry Ensor, all subsequent luminaries of Fasig-Tipton and all of the “Towsonites” bonded. Friendship with young Steve and he found a variety of jobs in a rapidly expanding number of the company’s nationwide auctions. Sharpening his horse auction skills under the guidance of George Swinebroad, Laddie Dance and Ralph Retler was a daunting task, but Steve’s hard work, reliability and enthusiasm paid off and he became an auctioneer. full-time and bid observer for the company in 1972.
From that point on, Steve hasn’t missed a single Fasig-Tipton auction in a career that has spanned an enviable fifty years.
But the glamor and fame of the thoroughbred world didn’t monopolize Steve like he did with many of his peers. Again, until the day of his death, Steve owned and operated the company founded by his grandfather in 1912, the Milton J Dance Auction Company. From the company’s current base in Towson, Steve has sold everything from pots and pans to antiques to multi-million dollar mansions. And, if there was such a thing as spare time, he has traveled the length and breadth of the country selling and scouting famous motorcycle auctions from Daytona, FL to Sturgis, ND.
His “trade” was undoubtedly the thoroughbred horse, but his passion was motorcycles – BMW motorcycles to be precise. Steve was an equestrian encyclopedia of BMW motorcycles and owned up to 20 at a time during his busiest years. He rode them all over North America – from Alaska to New York to Florida. It converted me to a BMW in the mid-1980s and, without a doubt, our whole trip from the 2-year-old sale in Miami to the 2-year-old sale in Dallas was the greatest road trip two friends could take.
Steve found great happiness later in life when, in 2011, he married his surviving soul mate and loving companion Nancy, in Jarrettsville. Steve is also survived by his two daughters Erica and Whitney, his son Lee, stepdaughter with Nancy, Layne and three brothers, Andy, Scott and Tom.
A notice of funeral arrangements will follow.