Tom Turpin
Professor of
Purdue University







Shopping for Insect Stuff on the Net

Well, I did it. I bowed to peer pressure and personal curiosity and went shopping on the net. I really wanted to find out if any insect stuff was available. So, I checked out the net auction company, eBay.

There were 29 listings under beetles, but only nine turned out to be insect variety. The other beetles included such things as a beetles doll of George Harrison. A beetles record. And a beetles fan button pin. Never mind that the British rock group spelled their name with an “a," as in Beatles! Under beetles I found some VW concept beetles. Also a real “bug" automobile.

In the antique market, butterflies overshadow beetles. There were 260 hits for butterflies. All kinds of butterfly things. Ceramic hand-painted butterflies. Cross stitch books to make your own butterflies. Butterfly stamps, butterfly paper weights, bamboo butterfly coasters and butterfly-design pinochle playing cards.

There was also butterfly pattern U. S. glass offered. One example was called “Flower Garden with Butterflies." I've got a feeling that the flowers are more prominent than the butterflies. One seller mentioned that the fun part is finding the butterflies hidden among the garden. Maybe, but if I'm buying butterflies I want to see them, not have to look for them!

There were two lovely Lalique signed butterflies. Offered appropriately by the “Butterfly Lady." There was also a motion graphics kind of deal where two monarch butterflies are flapping their wings while resting on “Thank You." Oh, yes, below the “Thank You," the butterfly lady flaps about. One is to presume it is not the same butterfly lady who was offering Lalique!

An Amphora Vase, called butterflies and bees and described as Art Nouveau, had a high bid of $848 but the minimum had not been met. Ever notice how items described in hard-to-pronounce words sell higher? There was also a piece of Herend china called charger birds and butterflies. Three birds and 13 butterflies to be exact. The price at the time was $396.

Listed under butterflies was a 1972 playbill for “Butterflies are Free" with Gloria Swanson. There were also salt and pepper shakers, old crochet pillowcases and hankies, all with the butterfly motif.

For the high-fashion set, a Gianni Versache scarf was offered. It was adorned with puppies and butterflies with a few ladybugs thrown in for good measure. How about some vintage topaz butterfly pins to adorn the Versache scarf? They were available, as was a cuff links and tie bar set.

Flies included 130 items. Mostly fishing flies. But also a “Lord of the Flies" book, an Alice in Chains – Jar of Flies CD and a 1972 movie, “Four Flies on Grey Velvet."

I thought I had made a real find when I listed ants. There were 383 items. Unfortunately, most were “Ants – the anteater" Beanie Babies! But there was also an Adam and the Ants LP album called “Ant Rap," an “Empire of the Ants" movie starring Joan Collins and even an Ants in the Pants game.

I didn't buy anything, not even any of the insect stuff. I guess you could say I'm just sort of an electronic window shopper!


Writer: Tom Turpin
Editor: Olivia Maddox