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Coin Collector Profiles – The Douglas C. Kaselitz Collection


An Appreciation by Gordon J. Wrubel …………

As with many serious collectors, Douglas Kaselitz, known to his friends as Doug, developed a strong passion for coin collecting at a very young age. Also like many budding mid-century collectors, he financed his earliest purchases with his first job, at the age of 12, delivering newspapers. While this occupation seems to be fading from the American scene today, it is one that provided many with a good foundation for building a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility at an early age. This foundation was not lost on Doug Kaselitz.

Douglas_C_KaselitzThrough his life, it was key to his many successes both personally and professionally. In addition, he was very resourceful and had an amazing ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles through creative thinking – both inside and outside of the box.

His work ethic also influenced his collecting, and his early enthusiasm quickly transformed into a voracious desire for more knowledge and for ever-better specimens. To feed his interests, Doug endeavored to spend all of his free time at one of the oldest coin stores in the state of Michigan, Coins and Stamps, in Grosse Pointe. There he educated himself by researching coin catalogs and spending time with older and more experienced collectors. Through study of the inventory and collections that passed through the store, he was able to hone his eye to identify premium quality specimens, the type of coins he came to desire most. All of these early numismatic experiences and personal interactions would prove very valuable later in his business and collecting careers.

Numismatics also served as the springboard for many fine personal relationships over the years. The one-time mayor of Grosse Pointe, Palmer Heenan, approached Doug about purchasing some rare coins and asked him to make selections on his behalf. The investment paid off and Palmer and Doug became lifelong friends. Similarly, I met Doug in the middle 1960s through Jess Patrick. We became warm friends and our families spent many good times and great vacations together, family weddings included!

kaselitz_catalogDoug attended his first summer convention of the American Numismatic Association in Detroit in 1962, at the age of 16. Shortly thereafter, he joined the ANA as a life member. It was clear to him at the time that his interest in numismatics would remain with him for life. Even in his teen years, Doug’s keen knowledge of rare coins was highly regarded and he became known as a collector who desired particularly nice examples. Information about nice specimens would come his way, and he traveled widely to build his collection.

One of his early journeys was to Salt Lake City to meet with 90 year old dealer, Norman Schultz. Mr. Schultz provided several Mint State early American coins that formed  the foundation of Doug’s incredible type set. Doug maintained most of the stories of his collection in his own mind, but occasionally shared them with close friends. One coin in the set that Doug widely celebrated as hailing from the Norman Schultz purchase is the fabulous Mint State 1797 silver dollar offered in the pages to follow.

Though he acquired many different types of coins, and later included bank notes in his fine holdings, his true love was for his United States type coins, which he meticulously placed in Capital Plastics holders so that he could study them frequently and with ease. Displayed in this way, the sets were truly an aesthetic delight. He went to great lengths to obtain the finest specimens and in doing so he acquired pieces that had been owned by some of the great numismatic personalities of the past.

The coins in this catalog include provenances to such persons as William Cutler Atwater, Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr., the Garrett family, Reed Hawn, William Hesslein, Ted Naftzger, James Bennett Pryor. Dr. James O. Sloss and Harlan P. Smith. Other properties he once owned came from the famous King Farouk and Lord St. Oswald sales.

Doug had a very successful career as a real estate developer, and his projects were varied. He was involved in the renovation of the Detroit Commissioner’s office, as well as construction of racquet clubs and fitness and skating centers throughout the greater Detroit metropolitan area. He also purchased, refurbished and leased a network of more than 20 assisted living homes.

Connected to his interests in rare coins, he partnered with Jess Patrick in forming the Great Lakes Mint and produced a series of silver bars in the 1970s. He was a skilled negotiator and his good business sense and work ethic paid off. Eventually, he was able to purchase Coins and Stamps, the Grosse Pointe coin store of his youth, in a sense an opportunity to relive a formative time of his own, while maintaining this place for young collectors who might still benefit from the local coin shop as he had.

Doug was dedicated fully to everything important to him. For over 40 years, he never missed a FUN show but, unfortunately, 2015 turned out to be his last. Beyond numismatics, Doug enjoyed the outdoors, skiing, traveling, and his swimming pool after a long run. Fine food and wine fueled him along the way, and on Friday nights he would be found in the kitchen preparing creative and delicious pizzas for his family. Through the decades, Doug and his wife, Karen, cultivated many wonderful friendships that extended far beyond the coin community.

While many collectors keep their collections and interests to themselves, Doug shared his passions with his family who appreciated fully how much he enjoyed his life-long hobby. Doug’s granddaughter, Emma, at the age of 3, could pronounce and define “numismatist,” having been taught by Grandpa Doug—a fact that made him very proud. Above it all, his wife Karen, daughters Melissa and Alana, and grandchildren, Emma, Jack, and Jude were his greatest treasures. He will be very much missed by them and all who knew him, including my wife Betty and me. It is our hope that the present catalog may stand as a memorial to our good friend and to the passion that was with him for most of his life.

Editors Note: The Douglas C. Kaselitz Coin Collection is to be sold by Stacks Bowers on July 17th in Baltimore

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