Furby was first released in 1998 by Tiger Electronics over 1.8 Million were sold in the US within a year of launch. In fact early coverage of the toy increased demand and the initial allocation was already sold before they had even been made!
This made the Christmas of 1998 problematic if you wanted to try and buy a heavily hyped toy with the extra stock restrictions. The original ticket price was $35 in despair many turned to the Internet but at that time only around a quarter of households were online and scams and auctions far exceeding the normal $35 price occurred.
At this time ebay was 4 years old and auctions with high final prices of several hundred dollars were common.
So what is the Furby well it is an electronic robot toy which looks a little like a owl or hamster like creature.They can communicate together by using an infra-red port located between their eyes.
A new Furby starts out speaking furbish noises, short words and other noises but it is programmed to start using English words instead over time.
There was a common misconception that they repeated words that were said around them. This belief most likely stemmed from the fact that it is possible to have the Furby say certain pre-programmed words or phrases more often by petting it whenever it said these words.
A simple electric motor and a system of cams and gears close the Furby’s eyes and mouth, raise its ears, and lift it off the ground in a faux display of mobility.
Over 14 million were sold in 1999, and it is claimed sales of 40 million units for the 3 years of initial sale.