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
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.
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.
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.
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