Where did Buffett's 'Oracle of Omaha' nickname start?

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Posted: Sunday, March 31, 2013 12:00 am

One thing The World-Herald's upcoming book on Warren Buffett doesn't reveal is who originally called him the “Oracle of Omaha.”

The first mention in The World-Herald was on April 24, 1989, according to our library:

“Folksy, charming and unconventional, the 57-year-old investor wows shareholders and stock analysts with a pithy annual report he writes himself, filled with insights into what he considers good and bad in his business and the economy in general. It's earned him the nickname 'Oracle of Omaha.'"

Allan Sloan, editor-at-large with Fortune magazine, thinks he might have been the first. “I'm sure I used it for purely alliterative reasons, because that's the kind of thing my fingers do, without my brain having to be actively engaged,” Sloan emailed us. His corps of researchers came up with an article from June 3, 1985, when Sloan worked for Forbes magazine, about buying and selling TV stations. Billionaire John Kluge was selling stations, Sloan wrote, adding:

“In the other corner we have Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett, legendary demibillionaire, the oracle of Omaha, a man who has prided himself on buying assets cheaply.”

No doubt Sloan was the first to use “demibillionaire,” but can't someone come up with an earlier “Oracle of Omaha” reference to Buffett?

The Omaha World-Herald Co. is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1080, steve.jordon@owh.com, twitter.com/buffettOWH

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Have a question for Steve Jordon about the Oracle of Omaha? Submit your questions now, then join Steve at 11:30 on Tuesday to discuss the latest news about Warren Buffett.

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