When Oppenheim returned from his first great expedition of 1883 to the Orient he brought with him mineral and botanical specimens which he considered “of interest as samples of the summer flora of the Syrian desert and Mesopotamia.”He presented the collection of minerals to Berlin’s Museum für Naturkunde while the botanical specimens, which had first been identified by the botanist Paul Ascherson, went to the expert for Africa Georg Schweinfurth, Oppenheims’s mentor and fatherly friend.
After his return from Tell Halaf in 1913, Oppenheim could also add more well-documented zoological specimens to the collection of the Museum für Naturkunde. Included in his gift were seven mammals preserved in alcohol; skins of 31 birds; 154 reptiles and amphibians; 211 butterflies and grubs; 1100 beetles; 176 ants, wasps, and bees; 631 arachnids; and 130 other invertebrates. The initial examination of these specimens revealed how very valuable they were. Among them was a previously unknown species of starling which was given a name honoring Oppenheim – Sturnus vulgaris oppenheimi– by the ornithologist Oskar Neumann.