Last month, I remembered visiting the antique store at the end of the street. The shop was full of collectible items ranging from sewing machines to comic books. Still, one particular collection caught my eye: a toy stuffed with plastic pellets. On inquiring, I was told it was the famous Beanie Babies from the ’90s, a toy collector’s goldmine!
Being an avid collector my whole life, I have been deeply interested in collecting antique items since childhood. From dusty time-pieces lying in garage sales to the recently-developed interest in vintage Beanie Baby toys, I have picked and kept everything I could get my hands on!
In the remainder of this article, I will provide insight into the much-loved Beanie Babies. This will include a brief history, some of the most valuable Beanie Babies, factors affecting the value of Beanie Babies, and places to sell them.
Beanie Babies – A Brief History:
One of the most popular collectible toys in history, Beanie Babies, was first released to the general public in 1994. Founded by Ty, the popular stuffed animals were displayed at the World Toy Fair held in 1993 in New York City.
The gorgeous stuffed animals quickly made their way to everyone’s hearts. Still, it wasn’t until the introduction of the Ty website in 1995 that business started to boom. The company was the first to offer a direct consumer-to-business website that allowed users to directly contact the company, thus rooting out any third-party retailer. This turned out to be a significant factor in its business growth.
Soon after, the toys quickly made their way to antique stores and became hot collectible items. Ty took advantage of this and decided to restrict the amount of Beanie Babies circulating in the market. The company did this by limiting the number of pieces a retail store could buy every month to 36. Similarly, it retired each character after some time, ensuring that only specific amounts of a character existed.
The brand shut down the overall production of Beanie Babies in 1999, with the last Bear named “The End”. Still, it restarted the following year owing to huge demand after fans and consumers had an overwhelming response to a questionnaire. Thus, the overall effect of Ty’s strategy was an extensive secondary market of the toy as an antique and collectible item, leading to the Beanie Mania.
With time, the design of the toys also saw various improvements. The company claimed to keep the toy deliberately under-stuffed, hoping it would give it a “realistic appearance”. However, the stuffing of a Beanie Baby was a component continuously criticized.
Similarly, the Ty tag also saw changes over time. Each Beanie Baby toy has two tags for identification, a “swing tag” present at the head and a “tush tag” at the bottom end. Initially, the top tags had “To and from” written, making the item a valuable gift. Afterwards, it was replaced with a four-line poem for the Beanie Baby and the toy’s birthdate.
From plushy cuddly toys to collector sweethearts, these pellet-filled toys have come a long way. From their inception in 1993, children have collected them, hoping they would sell for a fortune one day. While most of these pieces aren’t worth a lot, some did live up to their name!
Most Valuable Beanie Babies:
Ty released Beanie Babies in over 800 variations. Many toys made their way to the secondary market, such as antique stores and auction houses. As a result, toys that were exclusively produced raked in a lot of cash. Here are some of the most valuable Beanie Babies ever:
1.Wallace The Bear and Squad – $600,000:
Wallace and his squad have an incredible value attached to them. The set includes a Large version of Wallace and 2 smaller-sized versions of him, and considering the desirability of the pieces, it is easily the most valuable Beanie Baby set of all time.
2.Princess Bear – $500,000:
In 1997, Ty released an exclusive series honoring the commemoration of Princess Diana. The toy was a purple animal with a white rose emblem and a purple ribbon circling the neck. The Princess Bear reflected royalty, and only a dozen of the original pieces were produced.
After Diana’s death, the toy became a hot piece for collectors and made its way to the shelves of the wealthiest. Owing to its provenance and limited production, the toy is considered the second most valuable Beanie Baby of all time.
The original release of Princess Bear is worth $500,000, while similar pieces of the first 200 manufactured are still worth $50,000.
3.Peace The Bear, Ringo The Raccoon, And Bones The Dog Combo – $159,000:
These toys are individually valued, but if you come across them as a set, they will help you rake in a ton of greenback. The collection of 4 pieces is among the most valuable Beanie Babies of all time, worth $159,000 as a complete set.
4.Bubbles The Fish – $129,000:
A simple yellow-colored fish with black stripes, Bubbles is among the most valuable Beanie Babies. Following Ty’s strategy, the toy made its debut in 1995 and was retired 2 years afterwards, in 1997.
Some of the Bubbles the Fish Beanie Babies had significant issues in their stitching; such pieces, along with the original releases, have been valued as high as $129,000.
5.Piccadilly Attic – $125,000:
The original 9 releases of Ty’s stuffed toys had a bear included. Hence, bears have formed an integral part of the company’s stuffed toys. Piccadilly Attic is another relevant name when it comes to valuable Beanie Babies.
The toy was produced in minimal quantities, so a well-reputed collector may have never encountered any of these. The Bear’s outlook is another questionable subject, with a red nose and olive-shaped eyes that stare right into your soul.
Piccadilly Attic is valued at a whopping $125,000.
6.Batty – $125,000:
Batty was based on the children’s book, Stellaluna, published in 1993. As the name suggests, the Beanie Baby depicted a bat with Velcro strips sewn onto its wings, making it one of a kind. Initially introduced in 1997, the character was quickly discontinued.
Batty had many defects present, including tag errors and manufacturing abnormalities, one of which was an extra foot that made the Beanie Baby’s value soar sky-high to $125,000!
7.Jolly The Walrus – $75,000:
Jolly was another character introduced in 1997 but quickly retired the following year, in 1998. The toy had distinctive features, including beaded eyes, whiskers, and a brownish body to go with his white fangy teeth.
The remarkable features, along with the rarity of the piece, make Jolly one of the most sought-after Beanie Babies on the market, with a worth of $75,000.
8.Lefty The Donkey And Righty The Elephant – $50,000:
These toys were released in 1996, just in time for the elections. The Beanie Babies represented the two parties of the United States. They were indicative of the election that featured Bill Clinton against Bob Dole.
The signing of the stuffed animal by Hillary Clinton only added to the piece’s popularity. An original release piece of Lefty The Donkey and Righty The Elephant was sold for $50,000 at an auction.
9.Valentino The Bear – $42,000:
Valentino was released in 1994 with the intent of being a birthday gift for children born on Valentine’s Day. The Bear had a spectacular appearance, coming in white with a red patch and a red ribbon wrapped around its neck.
Like other toys, Valentino also had defects on its tags, which significantly increased its value. The toy was discontinued in 1999. Today, with original releases valued at $42,000, it is one of the rarest Beanie Baby you can find on the market.
10.Millennium The Bear – $30,000:
As the name suggests, Millennium was an iconic piece released close to the 2000s. A purple-colored bear with a blue emblem and a golden ribbon wrapped around its neck, this Beanie Baby was a true fashion icon.
The rarity and provenance of this piece, along with a spelling error named “Millenium”, have significantly influenced its value, with prices going as high as $30,000 at auctions.
11.Hippity, Hoppity, And Floppity The Bunnies – $30,000:
The three bunnies are siblings that were produced by Ty in limited numbers. The animals featured a sea-green, purple, and pink outlook with lopped ears and whiskers, sitting side-by-side.
Due to their high demand and “manufacturing defects”, a set of the three siblings is valued at $30,000.
12.Brownie The Bear – $20,000:
Brownie the Bear was one of the original 9 released by Ty. The originality of the piece, coupled with the character’s retirement in 1993, makes it very valuable, pricing at $20,000.
As already covered, Beanie Babies were produced in more than 800 varieties. The 12 most valuable toys have been compiled in the list; however, other honorable mentions include:
Claude the Crab
McDonald’s International Bears
Snort the Red Bull
Jake the Duck
Patti the Platypus
Peanut the Elephant
Factors Influencing Beanie Baby Values:
Whether you’re a collector looking to get your hands on the “ideal piece” or wondering about the value of a stuffed Beanie Baby you received from your grandmother, it is vital to know the factors that affect the value of these widely loved antiques.
History and Provenance:
The history of a Beanie Baby has a significant effect on its value. Generally, older characters produced in limited quantities fetch higher prices than the new varieties.
Similarly, pellet-stuffed Beanie Babies that were once owned by famous personalities or those with historical significance are valued much higher than toys with no historical value. For example, the Princess Bear, released to commemorate Princess Diana, is the second most valuable Beanie Baby of all time.
Certificate of Authenticity:
The certificate of authenticity is a factor that significantly influences the price of a toy. Beanie Babies that have an authentication certificate present with them are valued higher than those without one.
The tags on the stuffed toy are the tush and hang tags. If the two tags match, the value of the piece is increased. Similarly, the presence of the tags also increased the value, in addition to providing additional details and information.
This is the most critical factor when assessing the value of any antique, including Beanie Babies. Toys that have never been opened or those in mint condition are worth much more than a toy which has been damaged. A Beanie Baby is generally graded as:
- Mint: The hang tag and tush tag are present, and the Beanie Baby has no indications of wear and tear.
- Near Mint: The tags, in this case, show some signs of damage but the overall condition of the Beanie Baby is pristine. The toy’s price is a fraction less than the price of a mint piece.
- Excellent:The tags are crumpled, but generally, the body is in good condition. They sell for about 70% of the mint condition.
- Very good: The tags in this condition are ripped and damaged and sell for 40-60% of the mint condition.
- Damaged:These Beanie Babies are loved to the end and worn out and sell for 5 to 25% of the mint condition.
As for all antiques, the rarer a Beanie Baby is, it will be more valuable it. If a piece has been produced in limited quantities, the higher the price will go. Similarly, the original 9 released by the company in 1993 had the most incredible popularity attached to them, so they have a higher value than their counterparts.
The desirability of an antique is the appeal of the piece to collectors. Some Beanie Babies are more desirable than others, and these are worth more money than other ones.
So, suppose you’re considering selling Beanie Babies. In that case, you must know how desirable your fluffy toy is before putting it out as a showpiece.
Where To Sell Beanie Babies?
Once you’ve determined the value of your Beanie Babies, the next step is to find secure places you can safely sell your items. You can choose from several options, from selling locally at garage sales and antique stores to online platforms such as eBay, Etsy and reputable auction houses.
PlushCollector is a company that specializes in plush toys. Suppose you’ve received a Beanie Baby collectible toy as a family heirloom, or you’re looking to sell toys from childhood. In that case, PlushCollector is a great platform that you can use to sell Beanie Babies directly without having to go through the arduous process of bidding and negotiations.
The platform enlists a wide range of plush toys, and if you can find your piece on the list, the company offers to buy it at the price listed.
Overall, PlushCollector is a very safe way to sell Beanie Babies online.
This website is similar to PlushCollector, offering to buy plush toys from its customers. The platform has a separate page for Beanie Babies that you can look at, and it also provides a lookup library if you can’t find the time.
The lookup library uses a complex algorithm that generates the value of your toy based on the last 5-6 digits of the barcode number of the toy. Similarly, the website also has a fixed-price collection you can choose from.
The only downside to Sell2BBNovelties is that the platform only accepts Beanie Babies in mint or excellent condition.
Sell4Value is another platform that’s slightly choosy when it comes to buying Beanie Babies. Although the company claims to purchase toys in every condition, it only offers $0.40-0.50 per piece for standard models.
It has features similar to the websites mentioned above and is ideal for quickly selling rare Beanie Baby collections.
eBay is one of the best options when buying/selling anything, and Beanie Babies or plush toys are no exception to this rule. There are a couple of advantages of selling your toys on this platform.
First, eBay has a user-friendly interface almost everyone is aware of.
Secondly, you are the liberty of choosing to sell your Beanie Babies at a fixed price or putting them up for auction. In this way, you can wait for the best offer to arrive.
Thirdly, eBay has an entire page dedicated to Beanie Babies that you can use. However, if you think your piece is valuable, eBay may not be the place for you.
Like eBay, Etsy is another extensive marketplace where you can choose to sell your plush toy. The website lists thousands of Beanie Babies individually and in collections at various prices.
The only downside of Etsy is that it has a hefty enlisting fee and a transaction fee that will follow once you sell your toy!
Craigslist is a good option if you’re looking to sell Beanie Babies close to yourself.
Mercari is a popular platform that you can use to sell rare Beanie Babies. The app is easy to use, has no listing fee and provides a comprehensive platform for buyers to choose from.
The only catch is that once you sell your toy, the website charges a 10% fee from the final sale.
Facebook Groups are a great source to cater for a targeted audience. If you have an account on Facebook, the process is as simple as joining a relevant group, posting all necessary details of your toy, and negotiating with an interested party.
However, you must read the rules before posting to get your post approved.
Facebook also has a separate marketplace for the buying and selling of items. You can also make use of this and sell your Beanie Baby collectible. The only downside of Facebook Marketplace is that it targets a local audience.
Similar to Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp allows you to list your old Beanie Baby collection for free. If a party is interested, you can be contacted via the information provided to work out a reasonable price.
The site charges around 13% fees of the overall sale price, so it might not be the best option to sell your Beanie Babies!
Note: While selling your plush toys, you should consider well-reputed auction houses such as Christie’s, RubyLane, and TheAuctioneers.
If online selling doesn’t work out well for you, you can always consider selling your Beanie Babies locally. Collectors are always on the lookout at local antique shops, and such shops deal in vintage items, so you can also get a reasonable appraisal for your piece. Antique Store Finder and Antique Trader are two platforms that can help you find a store nearby.
Similarly, you can also visit flea markets and garage sales to sell your Beanie Babies. Such places are a great source to sell your items for low to mid-range prices.
From the ’90s to today, Beanie Babies have swung back in style, and if you have one of these, you should open your eyes and ears because you might be in for a wealth ride!
Whether you’re researching collectible toys or you’ve decided to sell a collection, it is vital to understand and explore all options before committing to selling at a particular place. This holds true for the classic Beanie Babies, which can earn you a fortune if handled right! I have made a comprehensive list of online and local options you can choose when selling your plushy best friends.
So, the next time you go hovering around in the attic or find some cute little critters from childhood lying under the bed, make sure you read up nicely, so you don’t miss out on a ton of greenback.