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Online Extra: Homegrown Legends on eBay


Call them the Beatles of eBay. They get hounded for autographs at sellers' conventions and are the subjects of bigfoot-like conjecture on message boards. In the five years since they started their eBay (EBAY) business, 1 Cent CD, Marie and Jay Senese of Pasadena, Calif., have acquired a global mystique among the 430,000 people who make a full or part-time living selling on the auction site.

The reason for the cult following: They hold the singular distinction of being the highest-volume sellers on eBay, putting 800 CDs up for bid every day.

CAREER SECURITY. The now-legendary business started in 1997 when Marie started thinning the couple's voluminous music collection, which had taken over, in blob-like fashion, every room of their home. Since she had quit her real estate management job to stay home with her son, online selling also enabled her to pocket some extra coin.

Then, in 1998, Jay lost his stockbroker job. A year later, the couple went full-time and now earn an income of upwards of $100,000 through eBay.

Still, Marie is able to walk her 9-year-old son to school every morning and pick him up when he's done. "As a mother, eBay has enabled me to spend the important years of my son's childhood at home with him," says Marie. It also gives her some added peace of mind as far as his career security: If things ever get dicey, he already knows how to peddle Game Boys online.

By Michelle Conlin in New York


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