Cuddly, cute, and filled with beans: Is it your little cousin Susie on barbecue night? No, it’s Beanie Babies!
Beanie Babies were quite the rage in the 1990s, but why did their popularity rise and fall so quickly? What happened to the Beanie Baby Craze?
In this article, we’ll dive into the history of beanie babies, their rise and fall, and how you can find the value of your collection.
The Birth of Beanie Babies
Beanie Babies were invented in 1993 by Ty Warner, who founded Ty Inc in 1986. The first nine Beanie Babies released included a moose, bear, platypus, shark, frog, whale, lobster, dog, and pig.
However, Beanie Babies were not instantly popular in toy stores. Most toy shop owners didn’t feel that they would sell well to the current market of children. Ty Warner continued to produce beanie babies in a wider variety, hoping they would eventually be popular.
The Beanie Baby Craze
As Warner played with new designs, several lines of Ty Beanie Babies were redesigned or discontinued. Beanie Babies that were produced only briefly became rare collectible items.
As the word spread and collections of Beanie Babies became more popular, the price of Beanie Babies began to rise to reflect their rarity.
Peanut the Elephant, for example, was initially introduced in a dark royal blue color, but Ty Warner changed this after the release of about 1000 elephants. The original dark blue Peanut became so sought-after that its worth skyrocketed to around $5000.
After realizing his ability to manipulate demands for Beanie Babies, Ty Warner began stopping the production of specific models after about six months on the market. Ty added names, birthdays, and poems to each animal to boost their uniqueness. The illusion of scarcity drove up the price and popularity of Beanie Babies even more.
Beanie Babies were released as “Teenie Beanies” in McDonald’s Happy Meals, another major collectible hit. Even counterfeit Beanie Babies hit the market. At their peak, it is estimated that two out of every three American households had a Beanie Baby.
The Fall of Beanie Babies
So just what happened to Beanie Babies? In 1999, Ty Warner announced that the production of Beanie Babies would cease entirely on December 31st. The last Beanie Baby produced would be a black bear named “The End.”
Warner thought this announcement would fuel Beanie Baby’s demand even more, but reactions were underwhelming. Some people had already spent a fortune collecting Beanie Babies and began to feel that their investment was foolish.
Even though they had announced the end of Beanie Babies, Ty Inc. continued to produce the little bean-stuffed toys. They were a true staple in toy stores, but times were changing.
By the early 2000s, children were beginning to lose interest in Beanie Babies and wanted new toys of the time like Pokemon, Furby, and Tamagotchi. Thus, sales and popularity of Beanie Babies gradually declined.
Beanie Babies Today
Today, many people still maintain Ty Beanie Baby collections, but Beanie Baby’s value is far from what the craze collectors had hoped. Most toys are not worth much more than their original selling price of about $5.00.
Today, most Beanie Babies are only worth a few dollars, even in good or mint condition. However, the most valuable Beanie Babies, like a defaulted Bubbles the Fish, may be worth over $170,000.
How to Find the Value of Your Beanie Babies
Ready to discover the value of your Beanie Babies? Think you might have a rare collectible on your hands?
Explore Plush Collector’s catalog of Beanie Babies to find out what you could be making by selling your Beanie Babies. You might have a fortune in your closet!
After you’ve found the value of your Beanie Babies, how can you sell your collection? Plush Collector will buy your toys! Whether you have a few items, a personal collection, or a store overstock, we can turn your Beanie Babies into cash!
The Beanie Baby craze is one of the most interesting tales in marketing history. From their explosive rise in popularity to their overnight collapse, Beanie Babies have made a forever impression on the hearts (and perhaps wallets!) of 90s families everywhere.
Did you love this article? Are you looking to sell your Beanie Babies? Get started selling with Plush Collector!