Jenny, I Sold Your Number

The most famous telephone number of all time goes to the top bidder

By Teresa Masterson
|  Thursday, Aug 6, 2009  |  Updated 10:31 AM EDT
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Jenny, I Sold Your Number

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Did you get a phone number from a girl last night? Does it happen to be 867-5309? Maybe you need to brush up on your '80s culture.

The main character in Tommy Tutone’s hit 80s song “Jenny” can be reached at 867-53-oh-ni-e-ine. Now some lucky (or foolish) Philadelphian owns that number.

The final bid on eBay for the 267-area code version of the famous phone number was $5,500 at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Though the winning bid was definitely more than “the price of a dime,” for some it’s worth having, if only for the bragging rights. We're hoping the new owner knows exactly what he just signed up for. Former "Jennys" say that owning such a cultural icon may not be worth it. 

“It's a hassle more than anything else," says Bentley Potter, 30, of Kingston, NY.

How would Potter know? His 28-year-old brother, Spencer Potter, owned the 201-area code version of Jenny’s number for five years. He, too, ultimately put the number up for sale on eBay.

“We got it as a joke and the second we plugged it into the wall it started ringing,” said Spencer Potter, of White Plains, NY. “We turned off the ringer permanently after the first day and you'd see the phone flashing all of the time.”

Spencer Potter says that he received an average of 40 calls a day, roughly 150,000 a year, from strangers. Most callers were drunken people wondering if it’s a real number; people singing the song; and a great percentage were guys calling because a girl gave them “Jenny’s” number instead of their own.

“There were a lot of guys who got bum numbers from girls and I had to deliver the bad news,” said Spencer Potter.

Many “Jenny” numbers were taken out of service in the early '80s after the song’s popularity had hundreds of thousands calling the number and harassing innocent phone owners in many area codes.

Spencer Potter’s highest bid on eBay was $186,000. Unfortunately the highest bidder pulled out, and he had to go to a much lower bid.
 

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