Hot (or not) Commodities: Beanie Babies
Sarah and I see Beanie Babies at nearly every sale we attend, and I always give them a good look-through. Here’s the thing though…you know that percentage on anti-bacterial hand soap? 99.999% or whatever? That’s exactly the chance you have of NEVER finding a valuable Beanie Baby.
How do I know? Well, for one thing, this is me:
(Let me say here that if I was a kid now, I would have bullied myself.)
So yeah, I know a little bit about Beanie Babies. Also, it is a good rule of thumb for any estate sale buying that if something was mass produced or marketed as “collectible” then it really never was or will be valuable. Holiday Barbies? Eh. Santa Bears? Eh.
The most collectible things are rare, either because only a few were made or because people never thought to keep them.
So back to the bean bags…
You can tell a collectible Beanie Baby instantly by its tag. If it has the half-fold tag with a poem inside and a yellow star on the front, then move on. These are the Beanie Babies that my fellow youth and I collected. They’re everywhere.
If you find a Beanie Baby with a hang-tag that is only one single piece of cardboard, but printed on both sides, then you are onto something. These are first generation Beanies, released well before the collecting craze began. If you can buy these first gens for a couple bucks, then they can be well-worth the investment.
This is not to say that NONE of the newer Beanies (with fold-tag) are collectible. A couple of them are, but only because of SUPER RARE manufacturing flaws. There’s “Peanut” the elephant who was released in small quantity as a royal blue color (instead of baby blue), and “Spot” the dog who in some cases is missing his spot.
You can check out some other Beanie Baby variations here.
My favorite Beanie Baby hands-down is the Princess Diana commemorative Beanie. When I find one at a sale, I like to pretend that it is super valuable. I usually hold it up and say loudly, “YES! The holy grail!” In truth, it is worth about $5. I just love that someone had the audacity to propose the creation of this thing and make mad cash off it.
Here is one that someone put a mini crown on, because apparently the bear alone wasn’t tacky enough:
Update from Sarah: Erin also used to make outfits for her beanie babies. I know this because at a garage sale she and her sister were having a few years ago, she let me have some of them that were wearing her creations. I used to make “homes” for my smaller stuffed animals out of shoe boxes that included moveable furniture made of cardboard and construction paper. Just another thing among many that I learned about her that affirmed the reason we are BFFs.
One difference between she and I—I would have never left a tag on any toy I owned. EVER. To this day, I threaten to remove the tags or take things out of boxes that Adam has that are collectible. Those tag “protectors” are especially rage-inducing for me.
(BTW, Adam was thrilled about my securing some new beanies, as I’m sure you figured.)