Former Equity Trader Ian Linde Finds Happiness in Rock Memorabilia

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Ian Linde gave up a Wall Street career to focus on music and sports memorabilia. (Press photo: Joseph Kellard)

Fresh from the “I Worked on Wall Street But It Left Me Unfulfilled” file, meet Ian Linde, late of the $40 billion Jeffries Group and a successful equity trader with Lehman Brothers-Barclays before that.

Linde gave it all up this spring to run Collectionzz, an e-commerce platform he founded and brands as “by collectors, for collectors” and his side passion for the past two years.

“I knew this was right,” said Linde, a Syosset resident. “I’ve made a career of making bets where I saw opportunities, and on many levels this was it.”

Collectionzz.com deals in memorabilia, including comic books, toys and poster art, but most heavily in music and sports, two red-hot verticals with a combined $30 billion global market. On a recent day, the Collectionzz.com website offered more than 11,000 items in 750 collections, with items ranging in price from $100 to $50,000.

Featured: The “finest” Derek Jeeter card set ever assembled and Pearl Jam frontman Mike McCready’s 1962 Fender Telecaster, played on last year’s Temple of the Dog reunion tour.

A collector since elementary school, Linde launched the business in part because he always had a strong desire to show off his prized possessions. Over the years, he participated in collector events and online and live auctions, and he tried assorted forums and social media sites to share and build his collection.

Linde eventually came to believe he could do a better job himself.

“I figured there’s got to be a better way for collectors that love their stuff to display their collection,” Linde said. “I also think the existing economics of the traditional auction industry are ripe for disruption.” 

While the big competitors charge fees ranging from 8 to 25 percent, Collectionzz sticks to a flat 5 percent for peer-to-peer transactions and offers premium services for “power” collectors and “ambassadors” that lower fees even further, he noted.

Linde was bitten by the collector’s bug while growing up in Melville. As a tween, he saved his bar mitzvah money, shoveled snow in neighborhood driveways and otherwise wheeled and dealed to trade up for sports collectibles he coveted. At age 11, he paid $225 for a baseball bat used by Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson.

Linde’s younger brother turned him on to Pearl Jam’s epic debut album Ten, and the future Collectionzz founder was soon immersed in the whole Seattle grunge scene, including Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains.

Working on Wall Street allowed him to acquire more unique and higher-end collectibles, including balls and other items from Yankees legends Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.

Today, Linde invests mostly in 1990s rock memorabilia. He owns Kurt Cobain’s Fender Stratocaster and the acoustic guitar Eddie Vedder used to write “Off He Goes,” a track featured on Pearl Jam’s No Code album.

There are also used guitars from Slash of Guns N’ Roses and the late Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audioslave, several handwritten items, including original lyrics and set lists, and classic 1960s rock posters of Hendrix, Cream and The Who.

“We think the addressable market is bigger for certain areas of collecting, specifically rock and roll posters and memorabilia, vintage instruments and game-used sports memorabilia with impeccable provenance, which commands a premium.”

“We expect that to be a growing and lasting theme,” Linde said.

Linde is in the midst of a capital raise to dramatically scale up Collectionzz.com, including new technology and an app. Other planned features include a curated section of unique, handpicked items, along with additional “white glove” services, in which he and his team will photograph and sell larger collections on consignment.

Ultimately, though, the project is all about connecting the collecting community.

”If you go to eBay and you see an item you want, you communicate one-to-one with the seller,” Linde noted. “At Collectionzz, we want people to project their views through the whole site.”