Benjamin Claude "Benjy" Kuehling III was born in Baltimore, Maryland on July 9, 1938, the son of Maebelle and Benjamin C. Kuehling, Jr. (1912-1975), and grandson of Washington DC Police Captain Benjamin C. Kuehling. Benjy grew up in various places as his family moved around, from Seattle, Washington to Coos Bay, Oregon to Southgate, California and Denver, Colorado.
At the age of 8 Benjy was introduced to minerals as part of a school project, and has been hooked ever since. In Colorado he worked as a miner at the Climax molybdenum mine. He married Elizabeth Ann Spangler, and they have two children: Benjamin C. Kuehling IV, born in 1974, and Laurie Ann Kuehling, born 1972.
In the early 1960s Benjy worked with Colorado mineral dealer Heinz W. Eckert as his "junior partner" and trainee in the mineral business. When Eckert would go off on European collecting trips for 3 to 4 months at a time, he would leave Benjy in charge of the shop. Benjy also worked as store manager for Jordan Zimmerman, owner of Missouri Minerals. Summers he would often spend field collecting with a local minister, Durban Thorpe (1914-1981); they traveled all over, from Arizona to South Dakota, visiting famous localities.
In 1951, at the age of 13, Benjy began dealing part-time in mineral specimens. Around 1965 he finally went full-time and opened the Columbine Mineral Shop at 633 Main Street in Ouray, Colorado. He sold at his first Tucson Show in 1968--returning there each year for over 30 years. During that time he made frequent trips to Mexico buying minerals, and sold specimens to all of the major museums and collectors of his day.
In 1970 Benjy opened a second fully staffed store in Aspen, Colorado, selling mineral specimens, gifts and jewelry; he sold the store to the late Tom McKee of Scottsdale in 1978.
Benjy retired in 2006; the Ouray store, which is still in operation today, is now under the management of his son, Benjy-IV, and still specializes in Colorado minerals.
Benjy (III) is a born collector; his 2,000-specimen mineral collection is strictly Colorado specimens, specializing in particular in minerals of the San Juan Mountains. When he's not working on minerals he enjoys collecting antique cars, mining memorabilia, clocks, pocket watches and guns.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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||Benjy Kuehling (III),|
with trademark cigar,
Tucson Show 1979
||Benjy Kuehling (IV)|
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Branch store in Aspen, Colorado
50 x 88 mm