Phone numbers are intangible, frivolous things. No one in their right mind would collect them, right? Wrong. Meet Dennis Mykytyn, the man who purchased 30 coveted phone numbers with 212 area codes for $US100 a pop in 2007. Yes, this guy spent $US3,000 on phone numbers.
That might sound crazy, but here's the deal: Mykytyn is one of those old-fashioned New Yorkers who still think it's prestigious to have a genuine New York City area code. The 212 code was first assigned to Manhattan in 1947, mostly because that number combo was easy to dial on a rotary phone. Then in 1984, the city began overlaying Manhattan's area codes with the lowly 646s and 917s of the outer boroughs. People became crazed over having a 212 code. To have one was to belong. Jerry Seinfeld even dedicated an episode to the city's obsession with it.
Of course, nowadays FaceTiming on a diamond-encrusted iPhone is a much better way to show off your status than some soon forgotten three-digit number, especially when services like Google Voice will give you whatever area code you want.
Still, the fact that this guy is still hoarding 212s is sort of adorable and quaint. You can't blame him for a little nostalgia. But you can wonder what he'll think of his 3K investment the day someone introduces him to Google Voice.