Kids (and adults) of the 90s are sure to remember the craziness over Beanie Babies! These pellet stuffed toys were made by Ty Inc. and targeted kids with pocket money. However, the limited runs, “retirement” of characters, and select distribution channels created a sense of rarity and a whole lot of hype. They became serious collector items. Now, in 2022, people who’ve held onto their collections might be looking at a small fortune worth a few thousand dollars. Beanie Babies from exclusive events, the Original Nine designs, first-generation releases, and even toys with tag errors can fetch a pretty penny in the collector’s market. Of course, any lucrative market also comes with its fair share of counterfeits, scams, and fakes, so buyers beware!
Beanie Babies Worth
If you’re considering selling your Beanie Babies or are in the market to buy, several factors contribute to the value of these collectors’ items. This includes how rare the design is, if it’s been looked after, what kind of tags and stuffing it has, and where you’re trying to sell or buy.
Like selling anything, the better the condition of your Beanie Babies, the more they’re worth. Conditions range from mint, which fetches the highest price, down to damaged or played with toys, which won’t be worth much at all in the selling market. Knowing what condition your Beanie Baby is in can help you understand the value of your toy and what price it might achieve.
Mint: Mint-condition toys look brand-new, with no signs of wear. They’ll also have the swing and tush tags intact, without damage, creases, or marks. These fetch the highest prices.
Near Mint: Toys with slightly bent or worn tags but are otherwise in perfect condition are considered near-mint and might get 80–90 percent of the mint value.
Excellent: Beanie Babies whose tags are creased or worn but the toy is still perfect are considered excellent and can fetch 65–75 percent of the mint price.
Very Good: If your Beanie Baby is perfect, but the tags are very worn, damaged, or missing altogether, it’s very good and might get 40–50 percent value.
Damaged or Played With: Finally, played with or damaged Beanie Babies with signs of wear on both the toy and tags are worth five to 25 percent of the total value (though they have probably provided infinite value in the form of lasting childhood memories!)
One of the core marketing strategies of Ty for the Beanie Babies was to create scarcity and urgency. The company did this by limiting production runs, releasing different ‘generations’ and ‘retiring’ designs, meaning there would only be a limited and finite number available. They would announce soon-to-be retired Beanie Babies, new releases, and limited edition toys online, encouraging the hype (and, in some cases, hysteria). They also tended to distribute to smaller retailers rather than bigger chains. Combined, these elements mean some toys are much rarer than others, giving them more value. Finally, the presence of design or spelling errors on both the swing and tush tags also adds to the rarity of specific designs.
There are plenty of places you can buy and sell Beanie Babies, from sites like eBay and Etsy to dedicated auction houses or websites specifically for Beanie Baby collectors. It can be quicker and easier to sell your toys on the more prominent online sites or at garages sales. However, you’re more likely to get a better price if you’re explicitly targeting collectors, as they’re more likely to see and understand the value of certain Beanie Baby designs.
Beanie Babies come with two tags – the swing tag and the tush tag. The former is the heart-shaped red tag that displays the Ty logo. Depending on when they were released, there are multiple ‘generations’ of these tags, with varying designs. Often they contain information like the model name, number, Beanie’s date of birth, and in some cases, a poem. Errors in these tags help identify different releases and add to the rarity and value. Meanwhile, the tush tags also come in different generations. These contain information like the materials used, copyright, place of manufacture, age limits, and care instructions. They also sometimes contain errors that add value.
One of the signature elements of Beanie Babies is the use of pellets for stuffing rather than fiber filling. The original releases from 1993 used PVC Pellets; however, Ty Inc switched to P.E. pellets in 1998 in an effort to be more environmentally friendly. As such, fewer PVC designs are available, making them rarer and therefore more valuable. You can check what stuffing your toy has by looking at the tush label.
Most Valuable and Rare Beanie Babies
Beanie Baby value and pricing is a hot topic. While some Beanie Babies are listed for extraordinary amounts (such as $500,000 for the Princess Diana Bear), the prices actually paid are much more reasonable. However, it’s still a massive increase from the original price of around five dollars. Low production numbers, event-exclusive releases, and first-generation original Beanie Babies are the rarest and tend to fetch the highest prices. However, demand and prices can vary from year to year, depending on the ongoing popularity of different designs. This list is compiled from the 2022 Beanie Babies Price Guide, which uses the latest research and experience to help you value your Beanie Babies.
1. Chef Robuchon Bear – estimated mint value: $5,000–$8,000
The Chef Robuchon Beanie Baby is one of the most valuable items, especially if you get the one with the case and invitation. Approximately 200 of these event-exclusive designs were manufactured for the 2006 opening of the New York Four Seasons’ L’Atelier Restaurant and sent to journalists, chefs, and selected guests.
2. Mitya Bear (2017) – estimated mint value: $27500–$4000
Making its debut at the Russia Toy Fair in March 2017 is Mitya, a cute red bear whose birthday is September 26, 2017. Its poem, translated from Russian, reads, “I will give you joy and bring good luck!”. An authenticated edition of this Beanie Baby could reach prices in the thousands.
3. M.C. Beanie (brown nose) – estimated mint value: $2,500–$4,500
Ty released the M.C. bear in collaboration with MasterCard in 2001, and it was retired a year later. It features brown fur and a brown nose with the MasterCard logo. Ty also released a black nose option at the same time.
4. Peanut The Elephant (Royal Blue) – estimated mint value: $1,800–$3,000
One of the rarest Beanie Babies is the Royal Blue Peanut the Elephant. It was only in production for four months as its dark shade was a production error, and it’s also one of the most counterfeited Beanie Babies around. As such, it’s essential to look for authenticated version before buying.
5. Quackers The Duck (without wings) – estimated mint value: $1,500–$2,250
Poor little Quackers didn’t get to fly very fair upon his release in June 1994, as he didn’t have any wings. This model retired in January 1995, and later generations featured wings. As such, this is a rare Beanie Baby and worth a decent amount in mint condition.
6. Hong Kong Toy Fair Bear (2010) Red– estimated mint value: $1,500–$2,000
Another event exclusive is the Red Bear from the 2010 Hong Kong Toy Fair. It was a thank you for attending and features a yellow ribbon with “Hong Kong 2010” in red print. It also doesn’t have a tush tag, which makes it even more unique.
7. Leo High School Set – estimated mint value: $1,400–$2,000
Created for a Leo High School Chicago fundraiser, this full Beanie Baby set features two lions plus a football and two cushions. One of the lions is orange and black, the other is a golden tan, and both feature the letter “L” embroidered on the right foot and chest.
8. #1 Bear – estimated mint value: $1,200–$4,000
Many of the rare Beanie Babies were gifts for Ty sales representatives, including the #1 Bear. It launched in 1998 to celebrate several billion dollars worth of sales and retired on the same day of its release. The company made only 253, and each one is hand numbered.
9. Tilden High School Set – estimated mint value: $1,200–$1,400
This set of eight items, including five mascot devils, two cushions, and a plush football, helped raise scholarship money for Tilden High School in 2014. It was part of company founder Ty Warner’s community service, teaching the high school kids to design, produce, and market a new product.
10. Mystic The Unicorn (tan horn, fine mane) – estimated mint value: $999–$1,600
There are different versions of Mystic the Unicorn; however, the first featured the tan horn and fine mane. To tell the difference between the fine and coarse mane, look for at least 20 strands of white yarn in the tail. It was released in 1994 and is the rarest edition of this cute Beanie Baby.
11. Coral Casino Bear – estimated mint value: $950–$2,000
If you were a Coral Casino Club member at the Santa Barbara Biltmore Hotel in December 2001, you’re probably the lucky owner of a Coral Casino Bear Beanie Baby. Only 588 of these dinner party gifts were made, with each swing tag signed and numbered by Ty Warner himself.
12. Blackie the Bear – estimated mint value: $900–$2,000
Blackie the Bear Beanie Baby was produced from 1994 to 1998. The design is inspired by one of the original nine Beanie Babies – Cubbie the Bear. While it had a relatively long run, it’s the first generation release in mint condition that can fetch a high price.
13. Brownie the Bear – estimated mint value: $800–$1,800
Brownie the Bear was one of the first Beanie Babies ever made and introduced by Ty Warner at the 1993 Gatlinburg Show. Later, the design was renamed to Cubbie with the Original Nine release. He only comes with a first-generation swing tag and Korean tush tag.
14. Hong Kong Toy Fair Bear (2017) Pink – estimated mint value: $800–$1,500
Like the original 2010 Hong Kong Toy Fair, later designs were also rare and valuable. The 2017 show has two editions – a sparkly pink bear and a light brown bear. Both featured “HKTF 2017” embroidered on the chest and were gifted to attendees of the showing.
15. Punchers The Lobster – estimated mint value: $800–$1,400
Punchers the Lobster is a rarity because it was supposed to be Pinchers. This Beanie Baby was released in January 1994 but was decommissioned very quickly due to the name error and replaced with the correctly spelled label. The misspelling, however, makes it much more rare and valuable!
16. Nana the Monkey (later as “Bongo”) – estimated mint value: $800–$1,400
Renaming of Beanie Babies happened a few times, including to Nana, who was introduced in 1995. He was renamed Bongo rather quickly, meaning there were only a few swing tags with the original name. Even more valuable, though, are the tags that had a Bongo sticker placed over them or one with sticker residue.
17. Patti the Platypus (deep fuchsia) – estimated mint value: $800–$1,200
Like Brownie the Bear, Patti the Platypus in Deep Fuchsia was one of the first Beanie Babies and was made in 1993 for the Gatlinburg Show. Patti actually has four different color releases, including the first Deep Fuschia, Raspberry, Magenta, and Fuschia, the most common Patti and latest release.
18. Libearty Bear – estimated mint value: $800–$1,200
All-American Beanie Baby Libearty is the first to wear a flag. The release was in 1996, to coincide with the Atlanta Summer Olympics, and some of the tags featured the word Olympics. However, the word was scratched off or covered on many of the tags due to copyright issues.
19. Humphrey The Camel – estimated mint value: $775–$1,050
Released in 1994, Humphrey the Camel had a production run of only 25,000, a relatively small number, and was one of the first designs to retire. Consequently, this makes him more rare but also regularly counterfeited. Spot a fake by checking for solid black eyes, not two-toned.
20. Peking The Panda – estimated mint value: $750–$1,100
Monochromatic darling Peking the Panda first appeared in June 1994. It has only first, second, and third generation swing tags and first gen tush tags. The date of his retirement is January 7, 1996.
21. Hong Kong Toy Fair 2018 Dog – estimated mint value: $750–$1,000
In 2018, the Hong Kong Toy Fair’s Beanie Baby was a cute sparkly dog. It has a white underbelly, paws, and nose, with gold eyes and a matching gold tag on its collar featuring “HKTF 2010”. Like the other Beanie Babies from the fair, it was only available to attendees at the event.
22. Bones The Dog – estimated mint value: $700–$1,400
Dogs indeed are a man’s best friend, meaning Bones is a popular Beanie Baby for collectors. He had a nearly four-year run from 1994 to 1998, featuring five generations of swing tags and six generations of tush tags.
23. Cubbie The Bear – estimated mint value: $700–$1,400
As a member of the Original Nine Beanie Babies, Cubbie the Bear is a valuable collector’s item. However, because this design was renamed from Brownie, it’s not worth quite as much as its predecessor, even though it’s identical. You can only tell the difference by looking at the tush tags.
24. Inky The Octopus (tan, no mouth) – estimated mint value: $700–$1,000
There are three iterations of the Inky the Octopus Beanie Baby. However, the first version, which is a tan/grey color without a mouth, is the rarest and most valuable. The other version includes one of the same color with a mouth, plus a pale pink design with a mouth.
25. Chilly The Polar Bear – estimated mint value: $600–$1,500
Chilly the Polar Bear is a cutie with smooth white fur and black button eyes. As a more valuable design with early generation swing tags, it’s more commonly counterfeited. Keep an eye out for orange-red tags and a dirtier colored white fabric to spot the fakes.
26. Ally The Alligator – estimated mint value: $600–$1,400
You’ll snap up a great collector piece if you can get your hand on a first-generation Ally the Alligator. It first hit the market in June 1994, before retiring in 1997. The design feature black button eyes and green and brown scaly pattern.
27. Teddy The Bear (brown, old face) – estimated mint value: $525–$1,000
Bears were a typical design for Beanie Babies, and Teddy is a throwback design featuring a more pointed face, which was common among older, traditional teddy bears. This design has six colors, including brown, jade, cranberry, magenta, violet, and teal; however, brown is the rarest.
28. Slither The Snake – estimated mint value: $500–$1,100
The first snake Ty produced was this little guy called Slither, with production running from 1994 to 1995. It’s another design that’s regularly counterfeited, so look for a lighter yellow belly, wavy body, small black button eyes, and a larger forked red tongue.
29. Spot The Dog (no spot) – estimated mint value: $500–$1,100
Spot the Dog, ironically, in the first generations, didn’t actually have a spot. He was part of the Original Nine Beanie Babies and was produced for only a few months in 1994 before retirement. There have been reproduced versions both with and without a spot.
30. Squealer The Pig – estimated mint value: $500–$1,000
Rounding out the most valuable Beanie Babies is Squealer the Pig, another member of the Original Nine. This pink porker was incredibly popular and launched in 1994. He didn’t retire until 1998, giving him the longest production time of the group.
How to Buy and Sell Beanie Babies
Since many Beanie Babies are no longer in production, you can’t just pop to your local store to grab one. If you’re looking to buy or sell rare and valuable Beanie Babies, there are plenty of avenues to explore, from online stores to local marketplaces and even vintage stores.
eBay is one of the most commonly used sites for buying and selling collector’s items like Beanie Babies. It gives you access to a large customer base and worldwide market. If you’re buying, make sure you check sold prices rather than just take the listed price at face value. This better reflects what customers are actually paying rather than what sellers are hoping for. You’ll also need to check for unscrupulous fake buyers who purchase their own listings for inflated prices. Then, if you’re selling, it is a little more hands-on, requiring photos, a good description, authentication where required, and organizing postage. Of course, you’ll also need to pay eBay fees for selling on their platform.
Another great online platform is Etsy. This allows you to build a brand and tailor your shop to a particular demographic – in this case, Beanie Babies. You will pay a listing fee and commission as a seller, with listings expiring after a few months. Like eBay, you will need to look after the photos, descriptions, shipping, and customer questions. However, it’s a worldwide marketplace, giving access to plenty of customers and sellers. You can also pay a small fee to promote your products, which can be helpful in a saturated market.
Craigslist & Facebook Marketplace
If you prefer to buy and sell locally, then Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are excellent options. They let you tap into a local market, which is great if you want to avoid excessive shipping fees. Plus, listings on both platforms are free. Similar to Etsy and eBay, you will need to manage the selling and advertising yourself, taking the pictures, and writing descriptions. As a buyer, it’s a great option if you know there’s someone in your area who collects and sells Beanie Babies, and there can be less competition for items.
Local Antiques Shops
Another excellent method for buying and selling Beanie Babies is through a local antique shop. You can sell your items to the shop, and then the shop sells them on to new owners. While it’s a simple and hands-off approach, you might not get top dollar for your items, as the store needs to be able to mark it up to cover costs and make a profit. You should also look for a shop that offers similar items to what you’re selling. For example, if they specialize in furniture, they’re unlikely to want to purchase collector toys.
Counterfeit and Scams
When adding to your Beanie Baby collection, you want to watch scams and counterfeits. Counterfeits became common in the 90s when popularity surged. There are plenty of online resources to help you determine if an item is fake or not. You can check the tags for signs, look for details like mismatched eyes, or placement of iconic elements such as emblems or embroidery. Another way to spot fakes online is to look deeper into the seller. If they don’t have many reviews or you can’t see the sales history, steer clear. Additionally, if the same photos are used across multiple listings or the item has been listed numerous times, it’s more likely to be dodgy. Lastly, if the price seems excessive compared to other listings, it’s also likely to be questionable.
Beanie Babies FAQs
Are beanie babies worth anything?
You probably won’t be able to retire on your Beanie Babies, but there are specific designs that can be worth a few thousand, including rare, exclusive, or first-generation toys in mint condition. However, in general, most Beanie Babies haven’t appreciated quite like the hype of the 90s led many to believe.
Which Beanie babies are worth selling?
Some of the most valuable Beanie Babies include Chef Robuchon Bear, Mitya Bear, M.C. Beanie, Peanut The Elephant (Royal Blue), and Quackers The Duck (without wings). They will need to be in mint condition and authenticated to attract the best price.
Princess Diana Beanie baby worth?
The Princess Diana Beanie Baby has reportedly been listed for up to half a million dollars. However, recently sold listings show prices from as little as a few dollars to a couple of hundred dollars. There are a few for $10,000, but these look like questionable sales designed to influence market prices.
Ty Beanie Baby worth?
The Ty Beanie Babies that were all the rage in the 90s can be worth anything from a few dollars to a few thousand dollars, depending on the design, generation, and condition.
Who owns the most expensive beanie baby?
It’s unclear who owns the most expensive Beanie Baby. If a Princess Diana Bear legitimately sold for $500,000 or Large Wallace and his Squad for $600,000, it’s a person with a lot of cash to indulge their collection!
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