Today, Beanie Baby collections are literally the stuff of urban legends. Every year, it seems like there’s another story of someone making thousands of dollars from their seemingly innocuous hoard of cute, stuffed animals.
Perhaps you’re an avid Beanie Baby collector. Or maybe you’re just interested in why this phenomenon has such staying power. Whatever the case, read on for some of the wildest facts surrounding these strangely beguiling plushies.
1. It All Started in Chicago
Beanie Baby history officially started in 1993, when Ty started selling these quirky animal plushies. But things really got going when several neighbors in Chicago began swapping them amongst one another. These early traders turned $5 toys into covetable items worth thousands in just a few years.
2. From Nine Beanie Babies to Hundreds
It’s one of the undeniable Beanie Baby facts that there were just nine dolls—to begin with. These included:
- Chocolate the Moose
- Spot the Dog
- Flash the Dolphin
- Pinchers the Lobster
- Squealer the Pig
- Patti the Platypus
- Splash the Whale
- Brownie the Bear
- Legs the Frog
That’s incredible when you consider that today there are well over 800 animals, with almost 150 of those with multiple versions?
3. First Plushies Business to Make Billions
And one of the probably most unsurprising facts about Beanie Babies is that Ty was the first plush manufacturer to hit the billion-dollar revenue mark. Ty Warner himself was actually a failed actor and college dropout. Yet, he turned his experience working as a low-level executive at a toy company into a multi-billion dollar empire.
4. Ty Warner’s Genius Idea to “Retire” Toys
It’s not so much about the question, “When were beanie babies invented?” that mattered to their success as the way they were marketed. In a move you might be familiar with already given the likes of clothing brand Supreme, Ty retired new Beanie Babies almost as quickly as they were released. It was this exclusivity that drove the collecting craze.
5. Those Tags Matter… A Lot!
During the 90s heyday of the Beanie Baby collection craze, people were cautioned NEVER TO TAKE THE TAG OFF. That’s because a plushie would be at least half as valuable without its all-important cardboard heart. However, tags also had the potential to drive up prices—Beanie Babies with tag errors are highly coveted by collectors!
6. Beanie Babies Filled With Spider Eggs
Yes, you read that title right. Beanie Babies are full of tiny white plastic pellets. They’re what makes them feel so distinctly floppy.
For a while, there was a rumor going around that the filling was actually spider’s eggs that would one day hatch. It was, of course, total nonsense, though the idea inspired more than a few memes and probably a few nightmares.
Beanie Baby Collections: Not Just Fluff
Were you shocked by any of these fascinating facts? We’ve gotta say, the spider’s egg tale really took the cake when it comes to weird Beanie Baby rumors! And wasn’t it fascinating to discover that a bunch of neighbors in Chicago started the Beanie Baby craze?
If you’re looking to add to your Beanie Baby collections, how to collect beanie babies, or find homes for Babies you no longer have room for, Plush Collector can help. Learn how it works on our website today.