However, while the bulk of Beanie Babies released decades ago aren't worth much money now, a select handful are. Some Beanie Babies sell for thousands of dollars, according to Dr. Lori Verderame, an antiques assessor with a specialty in Beanie Babies who talked with us for this piece. Others sell for hundreds or even tens of dollars.
The fact is, people love them and will pay top dollar for them. If you have some lying around that you don't need, try to find a buyer before they go out of style. You might be able to squeeze more money out of them then you think!
Beanie Babies came into popularity in 1992 when a cartoon character named "Oobleck" was introduced in Sesame Street. The characters color scheme and personality traits were similar to those of Tom Cat, another popular cat character from 1980s television. Thus, they became associated with cats and their antics. However, unlike Tom Cat, Oobleck was designed by Susan Borghoff, who also created Ziggy and other beloved characters for Sesame Street. She decided to create a soft toy based on her design and called it "Beanie Baby". The word "beanie" comes from the name given to them by children.
People loved them so much that they started appearing at garage sales and antique stores everywhere. Their price tag ranged from $5 to $50 each, depending on how rare they were.
The theory behind "Beanie Mania" was that the plush animals would gain in value over time—a risk that left many owners disappointed. These rare toys have gained in popularity among collectors and can sell for hundreds of dollars.
People have been collecting Beanie Babies since they were first introduced in 1992 by then-fledgling toy company Spin Master. At first, they were given away as premiums in cereal boxes but soon became available separately. Even though they were only sold in the United States, they acquired a following worldwide. In addition to adults, kids too young to understand the concept of earning money through saving came up with ways to trade or give away their possessions (like clothes) in exchange for more Beanie Babies.
The rise in popularity of these toys caused them to become scarce, which made them valuable. This is why even though they are now ten years old, some people still pay high prices for them today.
In 2000, an adult male Beanie Baby named Woody sold for $10,000 at auction. He remained the record holder until 2005 when a boy's beanbag doll called Milo sold for $120,000. Since then, several other babies have surpassed this price point.
While their value has declined—a Beanie Baby worth $900 in 2001 may now be worth $300—they may still command a high price in today's market, particularly if they are prototypes, Employee Bears, limited editions, first generations, "crazy anomalies," or ones autographed by Warner himself. Other collectors might pay more for rare colors, combinations, or materials such as silk or nylon.
Beanie Babies were originally manufactured by the New York company Ty Inc. They were designed by Tom Warburton and began production in 1992. Beanie Babies were presented in colorful cuddly toys that resembled small animals (beagles, bunnies, etc.). They came in various sizes from tiny to large. A child could dress them up with clothes and accessories sold by Ty Inc. (gloves, hats, shoes). The idea was to create a mass-market brand of merchandise that was also unique and special. It proved to be a success and has become one of the most popular brands of children's products sold worldwide.
The name "Beanie Baby" is a portmanteau of the words baby and pajama. This is used to describe the product after its original manufacturer, Ty Inc., named it this way before launching it into retail stores. Some people think this explains why they look like small animals wearing clothes but this is not true - the term "pajamas" here refers to the fact that they are all dressed up in bed clothes.