If you used to cuddle a colorful Care Bear at night when you were a kid, you might've unwittingly been sleeping on a few hundred dollars. These neon-bright stuffed toys from the '80s continue to mystify kids today - probably in part because they got a lot cuddlier in the decades since. Before you let your mom or dad pass down their childhood stuffy to your kids, check and see that they're not one of the most valuable vintage Care Bears you could have.
Care Bears Worth More Than a Hug Today
If you were a young kid growing up in the 1980s, there's a good chance you wouldn't be able to fall asleep at night without your favorite Care Bear tucked in with you. With so many colors and sweet themes to choose from, they were a smash hit every Christmas. Just like Beanie Babies, they were one of those mythic instant-collectibles that people thought were going to be worth a fortune in the future. Unfortunately, few Care Bears are worth more than a couple of bucks today, but you can always keep your eyes peeled for the rare ones that are.
Team Spirit Love-a-Lot Care Bear
We're loathe to admit that this anniversary bear from the early 2000s is almost vintage, but it tops the list at being one of the newest valuable bears. This pink bear with a cute letterman-style jacket on and bow on their head was made to celebrate Care Bear's 20-year anniversary. A limited number were produced, so they're worth a few hundred dollars. For example, one's currently listed on eBay for a little over $350.
Care Bear Cousins
In the 1980s, American Greetings Entertainment released a series of non-bear animal plushies in the Care Bear style. These original Care Bare Cousins are highly sought after, with individual ones selling between $500-$1,000, and whole lots potentially selling for thousands. Take this 'Playful Heart Monkey' that sold for around $450 on eBay, for example. Another seller has a lot of 13 Care Bear Cousins listed for almost $4,500.
Within the Care Bear Cousins collection, be on the lookout for the Nobleheart Horse. It's got a myriad of colors and a distinctive mane, and is believed to be worth about $800.
Cheer Bear Variation
Cheer Bear might be the '80s Care Bear mascot, but you wouldn't recognize them in this mash-up prototype plush from 1983. Kenner combined the light pink Cheer Bear with Birthday Bear's cupcake tummy emblem to create a toy that was never mass-market produced. These bears are rather rare and will probably sell in the low hundreds, like this one that sold on eBay for $350.
Harmony Care Bear
The lovely lavender Care Bear called Harmony is known for its musicality and ever-changing tummy emblem. The earliest Harmony bear has a rainbow tummy emblem, but only bears with a triple note are worth collecting. Triple-note bears were a UK and Australia exclusive released in 1986, and because far fewer of them were made than others, they're worth the most out of all Harmony bears. One recently sold on eBay for about $250.
Should I Keep My Vintage Care Bears?
Most vintage Care Bears will only sell for about $5-$10, so if you have a Care Bear you grew up with or a small collection from your parents or grandparents, then you should probably keep them close by. Currently, interest in Care Bears is way down compared to where it was 10-20 years ago, and now's the time to enjoy your collection and wait to see the market make a shift, as these things usually do.
Keep Your Care Bears Clean
The difference between a really collectible Care Bear and a well-loved (but not valuable) one is how well it has been kept. Stuffed animals tend to get a little dingy with age, and you'll want to clean your Care Bears every once in a while before putting them into storage or back on display.
You shouldn't throw your vintage Care Bears into the washing machine because the aggressive spinning might tear them. Instead, use a microfiber cloth wet with some water and a teeny bit of dish soap, and scrub any stains out. Use a clean cloth to dry the bear off, and either let them air dry or put them on a delicate cycle in the dryer.
Make sure your stuffed animals are 100% dry before storing them, otherwise you'll be dealing with mold down the line.
No One Can Resist Their Cuteness
Care Bears are undoubtedly one of the cutest things to the come out of the '80s, and we're far enough removed now from Care Bear mania to appreciate them. While most of your Care Bears aren't going to make you any money, they will provide you with a soothing cuddle after a long day.