72-Year-Old eBay Seller Norma DeCamp 

Norma DeCamp creates unique items to sell on eBay by restoring old toys, candy containers and other items and putting them together in fanciful arrangements. Here is her story in her own words.

Years ago, probably now about 22 years ago, I was making Santas. I had been making them for about ten years ­ big ones, from 18 inches up to 36 inches.

One day, I received a call from Country Living magazine wanting to do an article on me, and shortly after that, a call came from Better Homes and Gardens. After those articles, my things started to take off. Then a lovely gallery in Texas picked me up. I was off and running. 

Later, I made a black Santa, and Oprah, of all people, added it to her collection. Then Tom Cruise, when he was filming Days of Thunder in Charlotte, N.C., purchased one for his then-wife Nicole Kidman. But after making Santas for nearly 30 years, I wanted a new challenge. I had a tragedy in my life, and I won't bore you with the details, but I lost a lot of money. Just about everything I ever worked for. I went into a tailspin and quit working for almost eight years. But in October of last year, I found out about eBay.

I have never had such success in my life, and it is more fun than I ever hoped for. I seem to be able to sell almost anything, and creations have sprung out of me that I never knew I had. I am having the time of my life, and I am climbing out of a very bad situation.

I have sold to many celebrities; I even had a piece go into the movie Home Alone. But this is more fun than I have ever had. It is such a challenge. I was never a picture taker, but with the digital cameras now, anyone can do it. EBay is set up so well, and they protect their buyers and sellers very well also. 

I have met literally hundreds of new friends on eBay, too. A handful have become really close friends. It is a rush to bid and fun and exciting; at least, I find that it is. I often buy on eBay and then resell the item and make money. 

I have been restoring antiques for most of my life, and I am now 72. I love taking something that is almost unsalvageable and continue its life. I have loved old toys and candy containers and the old Santas all of my life. And to see one that has not been thrown out, but needing help desperately, is a tremendous thrill to me. Then to see it go back into the collecting market again makes me feel really good. 

I used to build dioramas with antique toys and dolls for museums around the world, and there are many now that still display them. The knowledge I received from doing that is invaluable. Some of my credits include displays at: The Biltmore House in Asheville, N.C.; Smithsonian Museum, Washington, D.C.; American Christmas Museum, Chadds Ford, Penn.; Hagley Museum, Wilmington, Del.; Atlanta Toy and Doll Museum, Atlanta; the John Phillip Sousa House; a window display at Rockefeller Center, N.Y., 1991; and magazine articles in Southern Living, Southern Accents, Better Homes and Gardens, Colonial Homes, Chicago Home and Garden, Early American Life, Collector's Showcase, and Inside Collector.

It seems everything I put on eBay sells. I have been selling since October of 2006, and I have only had two items that did not sell.
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Norma sells on eBay as joyous0839. Check out the unique items she sells there.

 

One of Norma's creations: a papier-mâché German rabbit candy container with glass eyes pulling a vintage Esco wooden cart which still has its label; length 13.5 inches. Her creations sometimes sell for hundreds of dollars.

10 1/2" papier mache rabbit candy container with glass eyes.

Papier mache Santa with sleigh, two dolls and a bag of toys.

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