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Herb Obodda
(1942-    )

Herbert Paul Obodda was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 24, 1942, the son of German immigrants Elsa and Heribert Obodda, who worked together on the domestic staff of an affluent family. Herb discovered his inclination for collecting minerals at the age of seven, during a trip back to Germany to visit his grandmother. A subsequent visit to the Gem and Mineral Hall of the American Museum of Natural History further kindled his interest, and soon he had talked is parents into a collecting trip to the Buckwheat Dump in Franklin, New Jersey. Then it was off to the zeolite rich trap rock quarries in West Paterson, New Jersey.

In 1957 Herb took a job helping the well known gem and mineral dealer Ron Romanella with his shop; it amounted to an apprenticeship in mineral dealing, and for two years Herb almost single-handedly ran Romanella's shop. He left to attend the Montana School of Mines, but changed his mind about becoming a mining engineer after about six months and returned to the employ of Romanella. In 1962 he began seriously collecting high-quality minerals himself. However, in 1964 Herb yielded to a yen for travel and enlisted for a year in the Army; happily, he was stationed in Germany. Returning to New York in 1965, he rejoined Romanella and attended his first Tucson Show in 1968, but finally left Romanella to start his own business in 1969. Through a gem dealer in Idar-Oberstein he met Monika ("Moni") Zaumseil, an apprentice goldsmith from Dusseldorf, and they were married in 1971.

In 1972 Herb and fellow mineral dealer Rick Smith began making buying trips to Afghanistan, and in the following years Herb became one of the first Western dealers to go to Pakistan (he has thus far made over 100 trips there). Herb and Moni were soon doing a dozen mineral shows a year as dealers, and although they had no shop they invited customers for private showings at their home.

Meanwhile, Herb's collecting impulse led him into a variety of specialties, each of which is related in some way to minerals and mineral collecting. His favorites include a fluorite collection (later sold), mining antiques and memorabilia, mining-related art objects, gemstone carvings, manuscript correspondence of famous mineralogists, antique scientific instruments, and one of the world's great private antiquarian libraries devoted to mineralogy.

John White (2008) wrote of him: "His reputation is impeccable, he is universally respected and (I suspect) envied, and his merchandise is always so exciting that most collectors and curators consider it a must-see at any show where he displays. Herb Obodda is a gentleman in the best sense, a credit to the mineral trade, and truly a collector extraordinaire."

OBODDA, H.P. (2004) Opening Pakistan's mineral market: Herb Obodda reminisces. ExtraLapis English no. 6: "Pakistan: Minerals, Mountains and Mystery," p. 6-11.
WHITE, J.S. (2007) Herbert P. Obodda. Mineralientage München offizieller Katalog, 26-34.
WHITE, J.S. (2008) Herbert P. Obodda: dealer, gentleman, and collector extraordinaire. Mineralogical Record, 39 (4), 315-330.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2020)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - Herb Obodda Herb Obodda
The Mineralogical Record - Herb Obodda 58 x 71 mm,
Maspeth address (1969-1973)
The Mineralogical Record - Herb Obodda 43 x 60 mm,
Front and back,
New York address
The Mineralogical Record - Herb Obodda 41 x 66 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Herb Obodda 44 x 63 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Herb Obodda 44 x 63 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Herb Obodda 33 x 74 mm,
A label for a specimen in Herb's fluorite collection.
The Mineralogical Record - Herb Obodda 44 x 64 mm
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