Copyright © 2011-2017 John N. Lupia III

Otto Oddehon (1878-1959), was born December 31, 1878 in Agerum, Blekinge, Sweden. His parents moved to America in 1880 or 1881 as both dates are found in records. He is listed in the Joplin City Directory of 1913 working as a canvasser. According to the U. S. Census of 1920 he worked as a lumberjack at Franklin, Missouri. In January 1923 he ran a coin advertisement in Popular Mechanics giving his address as Dallas Texas. He ran advertisements each year from 1936 to 1938 in April or May in the Kansas City Star, (Sunday, April 24, 1938) looking for work as a farm hand. In some respects he is reminiscent of a character straight out of Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. He seems to have never married, worked at various menial jobs, and lived in various places as a lodger.

Oddehon was a mail order coin dealer specializing in foreign coins. He advertised in The Numismatist, Hobbies, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, and Numismatic Scrapbook. The commemorative token he had struck for the 150th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase distinguished him, otherwise he remains fairly obscure to history. He published several insightful comments in The Numismatist showing a keen sense for numismatics, and business. Noteworthy was his suggestion to lower the annual subscription and have advertisers pay for the publication with the subscription dues used to advance the organization. Also he suggested, in 1938, that an archive of coins in various grades be established as an authority control - an idea that evolved thirty-two years later into Photograde.

Fig. 1. Oddehon's store card struck in 1946. Reverse contains date.

He ran his first advertisement selling foreign coins in The Numismatist in April 1927. According to the U. S. Census of 1930 he worked as a numismatist on his own account. He seems to have moved between Kansas City and Unionville, Missouri during the late 1930's. He moved from Kansas City, Missouri to Overland, Missouri in 1942. He then moved to Saint Louis in 1944.

Fig. 2. Oddehon's advertisement for the privately struck copper token of the Sesqui-Centennial of the Louisiana Purchase in The Numismatist, May *1953) : 559

Fig. 3. Oddehon's Copper Commemorative Token. Hibler-Kappen No. 509

He died on August 16, 1959. He is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Bel-Nor, Missouri.

The Newman Numismatic Portal has digitized various invoices of coin purchases by Oddehon from Burdette G. Johnson of St. Louis Stamp & Coin from 1940 to 1943.

Bibliography :

Popular Mechanics, January (1923) : 36

The Numismatist, April (1927) :

Membership and Directory of the American Numismatic Association (1930) : 78

Kansas City Star, Sunday, April 24, 1938, page 25

The Numismatist, May (1953) : 559

Hobbies, Vol. 55 (1955) : 145

Numismatic Scrapbook (1955) : 132

Numismatic Scrapbook (1959) : 2392, 2684

Heritage Auction, September 16, 2006, Lot 6514