Tuesday, February 22, 2011


One of the most successful businesses in the world was born out of an individual's desire to collect a specific item. Can you guess the name of this business? The founder's then-girlfriend (who became his wife), commented how great it would be if she could use the internet to add to her collection. He decided to do her a favor, and opened an online trading site called Auction Web. This small site quickly became a big one. The business is now known as eBay.

What do you collect? Clocks? Old keys? Animal themed items? Which objects do you hunt for online, in stores, at garage sales and swap meets; things that give you a rush when you discover and aquire them? If you aren't collecting anything now, I'll wager you did at some point in your life. How do I know? Because human beings need and want "stuff".

I'll admit, I've always been a collector, hot on the trail of such items as figurines, seashells, and vintage jewelry. My collecting mania grew out of my love for dogs. When I was a child, Grandfather bought me a miniature bone china figurine of a Collie. The figurine looked exactly like "Lassie". It became a passion of mine to sniff out and possess as many different dog breed figurines as possible. When I slept, I often had dreams about finding them.

In the early days of my collecting there was no internet. The search for prized objects consumed a greater amount of time, with fewer and less frequent finds. In a way, the old manner of pursuing collectible items was more satisfying because it was such a treasure hunt. Yet, to have a whole world of items available with the click of a mouse is amazing. The internet provides access to things you might never have found otherwise.

One might be tempted to ridicule other people's collections, viewing them as silly or worthless. Instead of being supportive, the founder of eBay could have scoffed at his then-girlfriend's objects of desire, and not started his business. You may be wondering what she collected. PEZ dispensers. Perhaps she was on to something. The largest verifiable amount a PEZ dispenser has been sold for is seven thousand dollars.


nancy said...

I didn't know how ebay started. I love to collect things too. Buttons, thimbles, shells, sewing notions, and the list goes on and on.

FabricGreetings said...

Now this is a piece of trivia I did not know. I wonder if fabric is considered a collectible. Well, I guess if I keep it long enough.

Sarah Kathryn said...

What a great story! I have moved so many times that I haven't been able to start a collection.. but I have promised myself that I will have a collection of owls to look after my someday-library :) :)

Sewsouk said...

I hate to say it but I didnt know what a PEZ dispenser is and had to google for the answer! Perhaps that is why I've never been fond of ebay!

Nice piece!

I tend to collect things in my head nowadays but as a child had so many collections.

Lynn said...

Glad you all are enjoying what I wrote. I was going to explain what a PEZ dispenser is, but my husband said it made the article too long. lol

Unknown said...

I knew how ebay started, but I didn't know that she collected PEZ dispensers! So many collections - I am glad I have managed to keep mine at only one extensive collection!