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Massive music collection may set eBay record

Paul Mawhinney has collected a whopping 3 million records and 300,000 CDs. On Thursday, he's selling them all on eBay.

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Plenty of people use eBay to rid their lives of clutter, but perhaps no one before has done it on the scale that Paul Mawhinney has.

The Pittsburgh man is the owner of a staggering archive of 3 million records and 300,000 CDs that hit the auction block this week. Snapping up a jukebox of this magnitude requires a rock star's spending habits, with $3 million pegged as the minimum bid.

Mr. Mawhinney's collection spans a century of music, from Thomas Edison to "American Idol." It includes almost every US music genre and artist imaginable.

Now his treasure trove (Mawhinney puts its value at $50 million) of recordings is taking its decidedly analog act to the high-tech stage.

This Library of Congress-size collection of the history of American music has the potential to be the biggest eBay sale ever. (The highest-priced item to date, a private jet, sold for $4.9 million.) Already, the prospect of selling records is setting records: More people have window-shopped the collection (129,000 and counting as of Tuesday night) than anything ever offered on the site in company history.

"That is a massive collection by any standard," says Susan Sliwicki, associate editor of Goldmine magazine, a leading publication devoted to vinyl in Iola, Wis.

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