Beanie Baby is a line of plush toys that emerged during the 1990s, but the new craze has revived recently. The most probable reason is that children from the 1990s passed on their love for these toys to their descendants.
While many people bought toys from the Beanie Baby line believing they have significant value, many of these toys are not worth much nowadays. Even though they have been mass-produced, a few specimens can be valuable, so you should check how to find the Beanie Baby value before buying or selling one.
Beanie Baby History
American businessman and former actor Ty Warner founded Ty Inc. in 1986, the company that designed the plush toys Beanie Baby line in 1993. The difference between the existing and Beanie Baby toys was in the stuffing.
He used small plastic balls, so-called beans, instead of a standard soft filling. This innovation allowed the toy to pose in different positions, while traditional stuffed plush toys couldn’t do it.
Warner also devised an exciting strategy for the Beanie Baby toys development and sale. They came out in limited series motivated by different animals. Periodically, Ty Inc. even withdrew a particular toy from the sale, making collectors buy them en masse to complete their collections on time.
The toys’ first series from 1993 presented nine animals:
- Legs the frog
- Splash the whale
- Flash the dolphin
- Chocolate the moose
- Patti the platypus
- Pinchers the lobster
- Brownie the bear (its name later changed to Cubbie)
- Squealer the pig
- Spot the dog
The initial sale didn’t go as expected. On the contrary, there was little interest in the new product, so many sellers refused to buy these toys in packages. Surprisingly, sales suddenly increased during 1995, and toy popularity grew rapidly throughout America.
Each toy had a hangtag with the Ty imprint on the front. On the other hand, you can find the toy’s name and style number on its back. However, there is one tricky part.
The manufacturer instructed parents to remove the hangtag because small children could swallow them. Therefore, you can be sure to have a rare and valuable first-generation toy when discovering a hangtag.
Beanie Babies Valuation Factors
Most Beanie babies are not highly valuable, but there are a few specimens that can reach high prices. Therefore, be careful and always check several factors that affect the toy’s cost, including:
Often a tag found on a toy is the only way to determine its age or rarity. As you can guess, toys with intact tags are more valuable, but it only applies to the first three Beanie Baby generations.
The best way to determine such a toy is to check the Ty mark on the tag. The presence of a logo, star, or other design in the upper right corner above Ty indicates that it is a newer generation toy, and its value is not great.
Hangtag – This marking is attached to the toy ear. Besides being often referred to as a swing tag, you can use it as a gift tag.
Tush tag – This tag type is always attached to the toy bottom, but you can find a few variations. Therefore, it can be challenging to use them as the only parameter for identifying a toy.
Occasionally, the Ty Inc. stuffed the toys with smaller plastic balls quantity because they thus more easily took the desired position. Believe it or not, these pieces have a higher value than those with a standard ball quantity, but only an experienced collector can see the difference.
In 1998, Ty Inc. decided to replace PVC balls with PE balls because PEs are environmentally friendly. That is why toys that contain PVC balls are rarer and can be worth a little more. The only way to recognize them is by looking at the tag containing this information.
As with all collectibles and antiques, the current condition is probably the most significant factor determining your Beanie Babies’ value. Before buying, every collector will check the toy very carefully and grade it in one of the officially established categories:
Mint – Such a toy shows no signs of wear or damage, and both the hangtag and tush tag are intact.
Near mint – While the toy is in perfect condition, the tags are bent or slightly worn out. You can buy such a piece for a 10% to 20% lower price than those in mint condition.
Excellent – The toy in this condition looks perfect, but the tags are worn or crumpled. Its price is lower by about 25% to 35% of the value the toy in the mint condition can reach.
Very good – Tags on toys rated this way are torn, highly worn, or even completely missing. On the other hand, the toy itself is still in perfect condition. It typically has a 40% to 60% lower price than the one in the mint condition.
Damaged or excessively handled – This category includes Beanie Babies used and played with. You can see the worn or repaired fabric while the tags are torn or missing. These toys are worth only 5% to 25% of the price of a piece in mint condition.
Errors and variations
Like other antiques, Beanie Baby toys can come with errors and variations. Since they are the most frequent among toys in the first three generations, it is crucial to inspect your piece thoroughly. Keep in mind that most errors and variants are very subtle.
Most valuable Beanie babies
|Princess the bear||$500,000|
|Valentino the bear||$20,000|
|Peace the bear||$15,000|
|Claude the crab||$10,000|
|Mac the cardinal||$9,500|
|Patti the platypus||$6,000|
|Millennium the bear||$5,000|
|Mystic the unicorn||$3,000|
|Curly the bear||$2,500|
|Weenie the dog||$2,500|
|Royal blue peanut the elephant||$2,000|
|Iggy the iguana||$2,000|
|Puff the magic dragon||$1,750|
|Flash the shark||$1,500|
|Cubbie the grizzly bear||$1,500|
|Halo the Guardian angel bear||$1,000|
|Erin the bear||$1,000|
You can typically find the wrong name or tag color. That can look like a trifle, but it can increase your toy value many times. Besides Beanie baby toys with an error, the most expensive are those connected to celebrities or events somehow. The most famous examples include:
Errors Valentino bear
The polar bear Valentino is themed for Valentine’s Day. The specimen with an error has PVC stuffing and brown buttons instead of its usual appearance, increasing its value to $350.
Autographed Democratic ‘Lefty’ Beanie Baby
Two toys, the donkey Lefty and the elephant Righty, appeared as political stuffed animals. For instance, these with Hillary Clinton’s signature can bring you a few thousand dollars at auction.
This Beanie Baby character retired in 1999. Like most other retired characters, it is possible to sell it for significant amounts. For instance, one Wallace bear reached an auction price of almost $2,500.
Summer of ’99 Woodstock bears
Commemorative characters always appear in limited series and are often worth several hundred dollars. For instance, the Woodstock ’99 bear series was made in only 10,000 copies. A pair of these bears was sold for $500.
Princess the bear
This character came out in Princess Diana’s honor after her death. Most people believe it is the most valuable Beanie Baby character, and they expect high offers for their toy. However, the market situation is not like that since only specifically marked pieces are worth a fortune.
Peanut the elephant royal blue edition
The Peanut elephant with royal blue hair was made as a limited series. Even though its presence on the market is not scarce, you can find offers of both $19.19 and $4,000 appearing at the same time.
It is pretty tricky to explain what makes one Beanie Baby popular. For example, it often happens that a currently trendy toy is sold for hundreds of dollars. Likewise, people can set aside significant sums for a toy they believe will be quickly withdrawn.
As you can see, it is not uncommon for different toys to vary in popularity and value over time. That is why you need to keep track of what is currently popular on the market and sell the Beanie Baby you own at the right time to get the best possible price.
Ty Inc. has a habit of retiring some Beanie Baby characters after producing a specific number. That way, the company makes particular toys rare, making them popular and expensive.
You can expect a retired Beanie Baby to be more costly at auction. To confirm that your toy is one of the retirees, you need to find this information on the Ty Inc. website.
There is one more thing. It is crucial to check the tag to see whether your toy belongs to the first generation. As expected, such a character will be worth significantly more than later manufactured toys.
Beanie Baby Price Guides
Finding a Beanie Babies pricing guide would make it easier to determine your toy value, but such a guide doesn’t exist. The primary reason for this is that the popularity of some characters and the market situation often changes.
On the other hand, you can find the Beanie baby toy series prices in the other toys’ price guides. They include quality photos, current market prices, and tag details.
It is advisable to be careful with the price information you can find in existing price guides because they can be outdated. Since the current situation in the market often varies, you can stay misinformed.
In addition, some collectors publish too high prices in their advertisements, while these characters’ value is much lower. However, their offers are also added to the price guides, misrepresenting the actual situation.
Listing vs. Selling Prices Analysis
When it comes to the Beanie Baby plush toys value, you can see sizable differences between the amount on the list and the selling prices. Sellers sometimes have unrealistic expectations, and only buyers will decide how much they are willing to pay for a particular toy.
15 valuable Beanie babies
|Toy||Listing prices||Recent eBay sale prices|
|Peace the bear||$2,500||$1 to $5,000|
|Mystic the unicorn||$2,700||$1 to $50|
|Pinchers the Lobster||$3,500||$1 to $500|
|Nana the monkey||$4,000||$11.50|
|Patti the platypus (magenta)||$6,000 to $10,000||$1 to $500|
|Snort the red bull||$6,500||$3.50 to $150|
|Gobbles the turkey||$6,750||$1 to $6,000|
|Peanut the elephant||$7,000||$0.01 to $670|
|Halo the angel bear||$7,500||$1 to $7.50|
|Claude the crab||$10,000 to $100,000||$0.01 to $2,500|
|Iggy the iguana||$15,000||$1 to $10,000|
|Valentino the bear||$19,000 to $42,300||$1 to $49|
|Brownie the bear||$20,000||$5.50 to $250|
|Hippity/Hoppity/Floppity||$30,000 (for all 3 bunnies)||$4 to $240|
|Princess the bear||$500,000||$2 to $9|
For instance, you can see that the Princess the bear’s price is an astonishing $500,000. However, there is no evidence that anyone ever paid that much for that toy. The rule of thumb is to be suspicious until you see such high payment proof.
Protect Your Beanie Babies’ Value
Your Beanie Baby toy collection is definitely a worthwhile investment in the long run, so the goal is to preserve its value in the best possible way. The primary thing is never to let someone touch or play with your toy to keep it a collectible. Every manipulation will probably diminish its value.
It is recommended to keep your toy in a glass box and away from direct sunlight. That will ensure that the Beanies’ coats stay bright and beautiful. Tag covers will keep the tags in perfect condition and prevent bending, wearing out, and tearing.
Some people believe that they have a valuable Beanie Baby, but they are often wrong. Be aware that available toys’ prices vary over time and depend on current popularity and a few specific factors. Therefore, you should always carefully consider them before buying or selling a toy.