You don't have to be a 90s baby to recognize a Beanie Baby's classic silhouette from 20 feet away. Like Barbie, Beanie Babies are hitting headlines again thanks to Hollywood turning its eye to our favorite childhood toys. But because of the potential to hit big with rare Beanie Baby values, take a second to flip through each of your old Ty Beanie tags to see if you've lucked out with one of these collectors' hits.
6 Valuable Ty Beanie Babies
Thanks to the shocking number of Ty Beanie Babies that were manufactured in the 90s/00s heyday, most of the expensive Beanie Babies currently on the market have some sort of production error. From misprinted tags to rare colors, the biggest value is in these vintage Beanie Baby 'rejects.' But there still are the one-off collectors that are willing to spend their savings on the final piece for their collection. Just take a second to admire how much money collectors have spent on these expensive vintage Beanie Babies.
|Valuable Beanie Babies||Recent Sales Prices|
|Princess the Bear||$12,000|
|Autographed Democratic 'Lefty' Donkey||$5,000|
|Peanut the Elephant (Royal Blue Edition)||$1,250|
|Summer of 99 Woodstock Bears||$500|
|Valentino Bear (with errors)||$350|
Princess the Bear
Princess the Bear is the quintessential piece that comes to mind when you're thinking about the most valuable Beanie Babies. Unfortunately, the $60,000+ legendary bids aren't realistic in the current market; rather, you'll find a lot of sellers unsuccessfully trying to get their Princess bears sold for thousands of dollars. But it's this reputation that makes some people willing to fork over insane amounts of money. Just take the mint-condition Princess the Bear that recently sold for $12,000 on eBay, for example.
Autographed Democratic 'Lefty' Beanie Baby
Lefty the donkey and its elephant partner, Righty, were released as two political stuffed animals in the Beanie Baby line. Hillary Clinton signed a few of these Lefty bears that've come to sale. If you know anything about celebrity signatures, then you know her personal touch elevated the prices by a few hundred dollars.
Retired Beanie Babies also make up a substantial portion of the current market, with bears like Wallace (having been retired in 1999) selling for both hundreds and thousands of dollars. For instance, this specific Wallace recently sold for $2,500 at auction.
Peanut the Elephant Royal Blue Edition
Peanut the elephant, with its royal blue coat, is a unique limited color run of a small manufacturing batch. Yet, this quaint blue elephant represents a common occurrence in the Beanie Baby collectors' market--one where offers for $4,000 show up alongside ones for $19.99 simultaneously. Beanie Babys aren't lost works of art, so prices can drastically fluctuate. It all comes down to what buyers are willing to spend.
Summer of 99 Woodstock Bears
Commemorative bears can also sell for a few hundred dollars thanks to the limited numbers that were manufactured. For example, this pair of Woodstock 99 bears--of which only 10,000 were made--sold for $500 on eBay.
Valentino Bear With Errors
Valentino was a popular white bear with a Valentine's Day-inspired theme that was occasionally messed up in the manufacturing process. For example, this one sold for $350. It had PVC pellets as its filling and brown buttons instead of its standard configuration, making it worth more than the average $5 bin these Beanies are normally relegated to.
What Makes a Beanie Baby Valuable?
While most Beanie Babies you find aren't actually worth much more than what they originally sold for, a few animals can reach surprising amounts at auction. But there's not a hard and fast rule for what makes certain ones more desirable than others. All you can do is peruse your collection with specific factors in mind, such as market desirability, their condition, their rarity, and where you're thinking of selling it.
Desirability and the Buyers' Market
When the Beanie Baby craze was in full swing, it wasn't unusual for a particularly popular Beanie to sell for hundreds of dollars. People are willing to pay a bit more for ones that pull on their heartstrings, so a popular character that strikes a nostalgia chord can fetch much more than a less nostalgic one. It's hard to say exactly what factors make a particular stuffed animal valuable at a specific time, but it's undeniable that different types of toys fluctuate in popularity over time. So, it's important to keep on top of what's selling quickly and what isn't so that you know when it's right to sell (and how to sell) that prized Beanie Baby you've been holding onto for years.
Like all antiques and collectibles, condition is an incredibly important factor when it comes to determining Beanie Baby values. Toy collectors will certainly look at the condition of an item before even thinking about purchasing it. Some of the ways a toy's condition is assessed include:
- Mint - The character shows no signs of wear or defects and has the both the hang tags and tush tags intact.
- Near Mint - The tags might be slightly worn or bent, but the character is in perfect condition. These sell for 80% to 90% of the price of the same toy in mint condition.
- Excellent - The tag may be creased or worn, but the character itself is still be in perfect condition. The fair price on a Beanie in excellent condition would be about 65% to 75% of the mint price.
- Very Good - The tags are very worn, torn, or missing completely, but the character is still in perfect condition. You can expect to price this at about 40% to 60% of the mint price.
- Damaged or Played With - These encompass the Beanie Babies that were played with. The fabric might be worn, tags may be missing, or there may be need of/evidence of repairs. You can expect this category to sell for about 5% to 25% of the mint price.
The Rarer, the Better
In order to encourage their continued popularity, Ty often retired Beanie Babies after they produced a certain number of a specific models. A retired Beanie Baby will usually fetch more at auction than one in current production, since there are fewer of them available. To check and see if your Beanie is retired, you can look at Ty's website.
On top of determining if your character is out of production, you also need to look at the hang tag (if it's still intact) to see which generation your Beanie is. Since Ty manufactured these toys in "generations," the first gen is typically more valuable than the ones that follow, much like first edition books are more valuable than later publications are. Ty produced the very first gen in 1993, and it's considered among the most valuable, like everybody's favorite first gen Pokemon cards.
Be Smart About Where You Sell
You can expect to get a higher price for a Beanie Baby at an auction specifically marketed to Beanie collectors than you can at a garage sale or on an online platform. While it may take longer to sell through a Beanie Baby auction house or a website for collectors, the higher price you can get is totally worth the wait.
Resources to Help You Evaluate Your Beanie Babies
Knowing which Beanie Babies are worth something and which ones are okay to turn into chew toys isn't always easy. When it comes to evaluating Beanie Babies on your own, your first step is to pick up a good price guide. One of the most current is a collection of several ebooks from a website dedicated to creating Beanie Babies price guides. According to the website, three seasoned Beanie Baby collectors with 20+ years of experience compiled the price guides. They include pricing information for Beanie Babies in all conditions.
Other ways to estimate your Beanie Babies' prices is to check a few online venues to see what the animal you have has recently sold for, such as:
- eBay: eBay isn't only an outstanding tool for collecting items, but you can look through their past sales history of specific items to see what people are actually willing to pay for your goods. This gives you 'boots on the ground' knowledge about the current auction market and whether your Beanie Babies are going to sell for their full value price.
- World Collectors: World Collectors constantly updates the website with all the current Beanie Baby news. If you keep up with World Collectors, you'll be able to stay on top of all the hot deals before the market gets over-saturated with the newest trendy toy.
Ways to Protect Your Beanie Babies' Value
Of course, if you have a collection of Beanies, you'll want to protect your investment and their value by taking good care of them. Hang tag covers can help the tags stay in pristine condition, while displaying them in a glass display case out of direct sunlight will keep their fuzz bright and fresh. This goes without saying, but if you're planning on keeping these toys as collectibles, then they shouldn't be played with, as it can significantly depreciate their value.
Beanie Babies Are Just a 90s Kid Thing
Whether you're a true 90s kid or you raised one, chances are high that you had plastic bins filled with all the multi-colored, ear-tagged Beanie Babies that seemed inescapable. Although not every extant Beanie Baby you find at the thrift store is worth more than its $2 ticket price, a fair few can sell for hundreds or thousands of dollars to an avid collector. So, check your childhood collection's ears for misprinted tags and other manufacturing errors to find the true cream of the stuffed animal crop.