You may have seen eBay sellers trying to sell rare or retired Beanie Babies. You may have seen them selling the plush toys for a gargantuan amount of money. I’ll bet your heart skipped a beat or two. Your thoughts went right to the collection you have gathering dust.
You felt an adrenaline rush when you realized you might have the same Beanie Babies. The thought of selling Beanie Babies on eBay for thousands is appealing to anyone. Who wouldn’t want to make a killing by selling an old Beanie Baby or two, right?
Spoiler alert: This article is about to disappoint you. The reality of it is that those adorable, collectible Beanie Babies are not worth a fortune. It is a rare Beanie Baby indeed that might bring in some big profits.
The tag errors do not make every Beanie Baby worth a fortune. Nor do the oddities. Now a bit of an exception to this rule is a “One Winged Hoot” I found on WorthPoint that sold for $250,000.00!
There’s a lot of misinformation spread in articles all over the Internet. It’s unfortunate. Some misinformed and fraudulent people are attempting to sell Beanie Babies. When they do, they are trying to sell the plush toys for gross amounts of money.
To understand Beanie Baby value, it’s important to explore a bit of Beanie Baby history. It’s also important to examine how to find the value of Beanie Babies today. Bear in mind, there’s a big difference between Beanie Baby value and what people think these toys are worth. Therein is the heart of the problem.
In the early 1990s, Ty Warner creates the first Beanie Baby line in Chicago. The initial line is not as popular as later designs. Below are the nine original beanie babies Ty Warner produced. Now, the toys are not quite a fad.
1) Brownie the Bear: Brownie was born in June 1993 and retired in the same year. This bear only saw one generation. There are counterfeits of this bear on the market.
2) Chocolate the Moose: Chocolate was born in January 1994. There were at least five years of production for this toy.
3) Flash the Dolphin:This cute toy was born in January 1994. It had four generations before retirement. It does have a known oddity where it has no fin.
4) Legs the Frog: Legs is born in April 1993, and gets retired three years later in 1997. Four generations of the frog plush toy exist.
5) Patti the Platypus: Patti comes in an array of colors. It was a production having fuchsia, magenta, and maroon colors. There are different birth years for the various colors.
6) Pinchers the Lobster: Pinchers has seen at least five generations. The toy was born in January 1994 and was later retired in May 1998. This toy hasmany oddities including several incorrect names. The names Misty, Speedy, and Waves appear on the tush tag.
7) Splash the Whale:This toy saw four generations. It was born in January 1994 and retired in May 1997. Several oddities appear in this toys production. The toy has a tush tag on the with things likes Splash, Happy, Doby, and Chocolate. One version even shows up without eyelashes.
8) Spot the Dog: The plush toy was born in January 1994 and retired just a couple months later in April 1994. The toy saw all of two generations.
9) Squealer the Pig: This plush toy was born in April 1993 and retired in May 1998. It was available for at least five generations. This toy was also produced with many tags producing incorrect names.
The toys were available for $5 each. Initial sales were poor. A group of collectors in Chicago began trading the toys. The trading group established rules for trading. Certain trades were acceptable and fair among beanie owners.
The practice caught on and the Beanie Baby collecting and trading fad spread. Soon it was a nationwide phenomenon. Soon adults were trading the toys for thousands. The media began highlighting the toys as well as the trading craze.
The massive success of toy collectors like Peggy Gallagher lends fuel to the fire. The success she had in profiting from buying and selling beanies is remarkable.
She bought $2,000 worth of collectible beanies she in Germany. Back in the US, the toys ended up with a value of $300,000.00. Her success led others to believe the Beanie Babies were a long-term investment.
Gallagher’s success was right around the same time eBay was emerging as a major selling platform. During this time, ten percent of all profits on eBay came from the sale of the TY plush animals.
Ty Warner helped in popularizing the sale of his creations. He was meticulous in making the toys. If he grew bored with a design, he would end its production.
The toys he retires became instant sellers among collectors. Why? Because, the collectors see retired designs as worth than the newest productions. Hence, Beanie Babies are available for several generations before they see permanent retirement.
Also contributing to the idea Beanie Babies are worth bookoo bucks is the first tag error ever made. When Valentino the Bear was in production, some of the hang tags featured a typo.
The word “original” appears as “origiinal.” This simple error made collectors believe the toy was a rare and a true original. Although mistaken, collectors felt the errors increased the bear’s value even more.
Here’s a tidbit that will give you a true sense of the Beanie Bear craze at its height. As a bizarre moment in history, there was a time that Beanies were so in vogue a lawsuit was inevitable. A couple parting ways went to court.
Why? To decide how to divide up a Beanie Baby collection with a total value of $5,000.00. The couple couldn’t agree on who would get custody of what Beanies. A judge had to decide.
Warner saw major success with his Beanie Babies. He sold the toys to the tune of billions. Fortune published an article explaining Warner’s success. His plush toy company is the first to ever turn into a billion-dollar business. Years later Warner got in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service for tax evasion.
You cannot plan on retiring on the money from a Beanie Baby sale. Yes, some Beanies have value, but many have little to no value at all. eBay sellers try selling Beanies’ at high prices are basing pricing on misinformation. Either they don’t know the truth about the value or they are being fraudulent.
These items attract a lot of attention. Some sellers use the attention to draw traffic to other things they want to sell. Other unscrupulous sellers will try to pull the wool over your eyes. Then you must consider the counterfeits out there that are adding to the confusion.
So, how do you know if your Beanie Baby has any value. First, you need to understand the anatomy of a Beanie. Certain features make one Beanie more valuable than another. You need to do some homework.
You’ll need to do research to discover the right valuation for your Beanie. Here are some features that your beanie must have to retain value:
1. Swing Tag: All beanies have swing or hang tags. The tag is often connected to or near the top of the head of the Beanie Baby. A good collector invests in plastic cases to keep the swing tag in perfect condition. Why is the tag so important? The toy loses 50 percent of its value without the tag attached.
The swing tag should have no creases, tears, or marks. The print must be clear and easy to read. Different beanies stem from different generations. The Swing Tag looks different from one generation to another. These tags have 20 generations in the US and 19 in the UK.
2. Tush Tag: This is the small tag that appears sewn into the fabric on the bottom of the toy. The Tush Tag is important because it will reveal how to care for the toy. It also reveals the type of material the manufacturer uses to make the toys. The material inside the bear makes a difference in value.
3. PE Pellets vs. PVC Pellets. The first toys have PVC pellets inside. It was in 1998 the toys were being produced with PE pellets because they were ecofriendly. Hence, a tush tag revealing a toy made with PVC pellets indicates earlier generation toys. PE refers to polyethylene. PVC refers to polyvinylchloride. PE pellets are non-toxic. PVC is a known carcinogen.
Bear in mind it doesn’t increase the value of the toy by thousands or even hundreds. But, it does express more rarity. It is something taken into consideration when valuing the beanies.
This factor influences the price of the Princess beanie. But, the bear is not worth at all what consumers believe. We will explore the Princess Beanie’s valuation later.
3. Red Stamp: On the inside of the tush tags on some beanie babies is a red stamp. You might need a magnifying glass to read it. The number that appears there is revealing. It suggests the factory where the toy was mass produced.
The quality control stamp mark helps some collectors assess the toy’s rarity. Some bears have no red stamp. Such is the case when any toys manufactured in Indonesia.
Some beanies have oddities. One such oddity is where you might find the wrong name on a Beanie Baby’s tush tag. In the 1990’s when the toys were popular this tush tag error made the toy worth two to three dollars more.
Today, even with this oddity, it does nothing to increase value. But, you will see eBay sellers pricing the toy at high amounts because of the oddity they identify. There are even counterfeit versions of tush tags with incorrect names. Crazy right?
Believe it or not, tag errors do nothing to increase the value of a Beanie Baby. You will see many sellers telling you they have an ultra-rare bear with errors. The collectibles you see are commons. This means they were very popular and of little value, to begin with when sold. This also means the errors have no influence on the toy’s valuation.
Commons are mass-production in large quantities. If you paid $5.00 for a beanie and you have tag errors, you have a $5.00 beanie with a unique tag. It won’t sell for thousands.
You’ll see plush toys like the Millennium bear and Valentino selling at high prices. You will also see Kicks, Peace, and Curly sold with tag errors for super high prices. These price increases began in 2014.
There’s no coincidence between the rise in beanie prices and the end value guide productions. With no authoritative references in print, Beanie Babie owners started pricing the toys. The prices are whatever they decide the toy is worth.
The basic rule is this: If it was not worth anything between 1996 and 2014, it’s not worth anything now. Sellers have the right to ask whatever they want for what they are selling. Just because it’s happening all the time on eBay, it doesn’t mean it’s ethical.
Some beanie baby owners argue that they’ve seen articles revealing they have a rare beanie. They believe it should sell for thousands. This is most common argument with the purple Princess bear.
This misinformation stems from a story appearing in the Daily Mail. A couple bought the bear for $15.00. They later claimed it had a value of $100,000.00. The truth is a far cry from that value.
Ty released the bear in October of 1997. One month later, a strict limit goes on how many stores can order. The limit on ordering suggested to collectors the beanie was a limited edition.
This increased the demand and value of the beanie. The price rose over $200.00. Later, tush tag variations came out and this also influenced the pricing of the bear.
Questions about the bear’s manufacturing leave room for unethical sellers. They can and do to take advantage. It is hard to believe people are paying top dollar for a beanie worth between $45 dollars. If you are lucky enough to have a first edition, it’s worth about $54.
The bottom line is that if you own a beanie baby you want to sell, you’ll have to do research. Sites like Worthpoint will help you explore the types of beanies sold. For example. on eBay, the current pricing for a Peace bear with tag errors is just over $26.00. That selling price is out of 545 active listings equaling a 4.7% sell through rate.
You can review prices of the sold bears to determine a fair value for the item you have. Tush tags and swing tag errors are irrelevant. The condition of the item is the most important factor in determining value. The rarer the toy, the more likely it is worth something.
If you want an easy means of seeing how the Beanies are selling today. Go to eBay and look up the bear of interest. Now filter out the items and view those that sellers have sold. It gives you an idea of the least you can sell the item for as well as the upper price limit. Keep in mind being fair to your buyer.
However, the absolute best history you can find with this type of research is provided by WorthPoint. Their database dates back 10 years. When you do a search on the site for “Beanie Babies” you will see the madness with this trend. Many of the highest prices sold are those in “Box Lots” or “bundles” of different types.
Authenticating the bear is another means of determining value. With an authentication certificate, you can prove the bear is of value. It also increases the likelihood of a sale.
Of course, authentication also ensures that you are not selling a counterfeit item. You can also do some research through Tycollector.com.The site helps you discover scams or fraudulent practices.
Can you try to sell your beanie for thousands? Could be but RESEARCH IS KING! Do your research and learn more about the reality of those “bags of beans.” Plan a strategy and accept the reality if the value is not there.
Need more assistance? Just type in the type of beanie babie you have and see if an expert can guide you. There are many types of experts available. Some may charge a small fee to assist you.
Beanie babies helped buy my home in Florida! I was a part of the madness of this success. 1997 was the launch of my eBay career, mainly because of Beanie babies.
I will forever be thankful for those bags of beans that taught me so much! The most important lesson I learned from all this was “Sell when the market it hot.”