Reagan Items Flood Internet; EBay Bidding Becomes Brisk

Article excerpt

Byline: Jen Haberkorn, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Looking for a pair of Ronald Reagan house slippers? Or tickets from his 1981 presidential inaugural ball?

You might want to start on EBay.

As of yesterday, there were more than 10,000 Reagan-related items for sale on the Internet auction site - up from 6,000 on Tuesday.

A number of online entrepreneurs are engaging in something President Reagan trumpeted throughout his political career: capitalism.

When Craig Oscarson heard of Mr. Reagan's death Saturday, he immediately went to EBay.com.

An experienced EBay seller, he knew the site would instantly be flooded with items memorializing the former president. And he knew there was an opportunity for him to make some supplemental income.

"I got online, bought some Reagan stuff already on sale and I turned around and resold it," Mr. Oscarson said. "Americans are impulse buyers. [The rush to buy] doesn't last very long."

By comparison, searches for items bearing the names or faces of other former presidents turned up far fewer results. Searching for Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton turns up about 300 to 400 items each.

Reagan memorabilia ranged from the odd to the obscure: house slippers to golf balls to campaign materials to copies of his 1994 letter to the American people in which he revealed his Alzheimer's disease.

The signed, handwritten copy of the letter received two bids and sold for $2,551.01.

The site lists more than a dozen pairs of vibrant red, white and blue house slippers with caricature heads of the former president and first lady Nancy Reagan. Ty's "Ronnie" beanie babies and more than 20 Reagan bobblehead dolls also fill the site. A frosted glass Air Force One jelly bean jar features the presidential seal and Mr. Reagan's stamped signature.

The auction site also lists posters and pins from the 40th president's 1980 and 1984 campaigns and various books and photos featuring Mr. Reagan. The Jan. 5, 1981, Time magazine featuring him as "Man of the Year" is posted, as is a set of drink tickets to the 1981 inaugural ball. …