Beanie Baby Handbook

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beanie baby handbook

The Beanie Baby Handbook
Fox
1998

Anyone willing to admit they were part of the Beanie Baby trend, I mean cult? I was living in the UK at the time and there were some serious Beanie Baby fanatics. I remember one woman talking about “investing” and using the proceeds to finance her kid’s college education. This was made clear to me when someone gave my daughter a Beanie Baby toy and I cut the tag off before I gave it to her. A woman gasped at my ignorance. Evidently, I ruined the value of this bean bag toy. In another instance, I went to register my kids at school and one of the staffers had an office stuffed with Beanie Babies. It was weird and somewhat disturbing. I never understood the obsession.

Not that I really care, but are these toys still a thing?

Mary

back cover

beanie baby convention

beanie sociology

beanie baby tags

beanie baby collector items

21 comments

  1. I was part of the craze! But I was also seven years old at the time, and I always took the tags off to play with them. I don’t know what the adults’ excuses were.

  2. All I can say is that the authors of the book were incredibly optimistic about future values.

    According to on-line Beanie Baby price guides, ordinary Babies such as “Stretch” and “Stripes” are now worth $4 and $5, respectively, not $60.

    Even the supposedly 10 rarest Beanie Babies have dropped considerably in value in the twenty years from 1998 to 2018:

    Spot (without spot): $1500 -> $200+
    Peanut (dark blue): $2500 -> $650
    Quacker (no wings): $1500 -> $630 (2014)
    Zip (all black): $1250 -> couldn’t find recent price
    Patti (maroon): $750 -> $150
    Chilly: $1000 -> $500+
    Nip (all gold): $750 -> $80 (2017)
    Humphrey: $1000 -> $700 (2017)
    Peking: $1000 -> $175+
    Teddy Brown (old face): $1000 -> couldn’t find recent price

    My young daughter had a small collection of Beanie Babies back in 1998, but only because they were cute. 🙂

  3. I actually worked in a bookstore (where we sold many copies of this very book) with a guy back then who quit so he could manage a store that sold nothing but Beanie Babies. He seemed utterly convinced that this would be a long-term career. It was like talking to a cult member, he just kept going on and on about what a great investment they were.

    I still have a few given to me by a relative, one of which they handed over with great reverence, telling me it was going to be extremely valuable one day. Last time I checked it was going for a couple bucks on eBay.

  4. SIL got caught up in the craze. Like your friend, she seriously thought she could finance the college educations of her three children with them.

    The mania was fed because some Beanie Babies were only issued for a limited time. Just think of the craze as a late chapter in ‘Popular Delusions and the Maddness of Crowds’.

  5. They were fun to play with and had little poems about themselves in the tags. Never thought about selling them for fun and profit, though. I was 9ish at the time.

  6. This book would be great for a display that included “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” or “The Great Beanie Baby Bubble.”

  7. They were cute little toys, though the poems needed serious editing 😀 My daughter had some and I bought some because I’m a sucker for cute animal toys, but not as an investment. In fact, grown-ups pretty much ruined everything for kids (wouldn’t be the first time…). Now the company mainly seems to make ugly beanies based on cartoon characters for various companies. The generics were nicer, I thought. My little girl wouldn’t go anywhere without her beanie baby duck in tow. We bought several and were glad we did as they were important backups!

  8. I had a few of them that I thought were really cute, but I was 14 at the time. My nextdoor neighbor collected them for profit, and gave me a few more “collectable” ones when I babysat her kids. Luckily she also paid me in money, or I wouldn’t have gone back.

  9. SIL gave us two Beanie Babies for Christmas because they were the animals associated with our Chinese Zodiac signs. She thought these little gifts were the equivalent of gold ingots. We still have them because we like them but they’re only worth a couple of candy bars.

    Does anyone remember the 17th century tulip bulb mania in the Netherlands?

  10. I’m afraid we had this book, or my son did. Probably still has it. He was an avid collector for a while. There are still a few scattered around the house collecting dust — and I think there is a big plastic container in the attic with the majority of the collection. There’s a project for him to bring in a few bucks and also declutter a bit: selling them on eBay.

  11. I had some as a kid but took the tags off because my parents didn’t think they had economic value. They are still around though the stuffed toy scene has changed.

  12. I do remember these things. I remember Time magazine’s cartoonist lampooned their collectors at least once when some “evil hackers” took down Ebay via DDoS for a day or so.

  13. I collected them. Not for any future financial gain, but because I thought they were(and still do) cute. I still have them, too.

  14. I have over 500 of them with the tags still attached!! I started collecting them 20 years ago when my husband said I couldn’t get a kitten!!

  15. In the 90’s I was obsessed with Disney, troll dolls, and virtual pets, but I could not figure out the popularity of Beanie Babies, nor people buying hundreds of them but not playing with or enjoying them because they were “collectables”. I do have a few modern-day Beanie Boo plushies, though.

  16. I had a co worker who spent her mornings calling stores that sold Beanies, then used her lunch time to go from store to store buying, then the afternoon was calling said stores again to check if they got new, “rare” Beanies delivered, so she could plan her evening. And she didn’t have kids! This was her and her husband “investing.”

  17. There is a recent posting Delusional Craigslist where some woman is willing to “sacrifice” ” one of the rarest beanies out there” est. value $18,000 will let go for $10,000. There are currently 7 or 8 of that beanie on eBay, bidding on one is up $3.75.

  18. The 90s was the age of what I call “Collectible Investment Era”. Everything from comic books to Hallmark ornaments was thought to be the ticket to a bright and nice retirement. There was alot of books written during this era that give out the prices of the items and where they can be sold. People were willing to pay high prices for these items in the hopes of making a higher return in the future.

    You can see where the problems in investing in mass produced items lie. Items are only worth so much if people are willing to pay those prices and if the item is very rare (like one of a kind or only 10 of them in existence sorta thing). Its true that Beanie Babies were worth money in theory, but only if you sold them during the height of the bubble when everyone wanted them and sold them at places where people were likely to pay the prices you wanted (like ebay or collector fair). People waited too long till the bubble popped and were left with worthless items.

    If people want to invest wisely, they should go to a reputable community college and take a course on it. They usually lead you on the right track with sound investments and even to cash them out for highest price possible.

  19. The Princess Diana Beanie I spot there on the cover (which I do own one of) still ranges anywhere from $20 to half a million on the electronic-Bays, depending who’s asking. You go, eBay sellers. Live the dream.

  20. Never understood why these were considered highly valuable. When they came out they looked familiar. Maybe I was crazy, but I was sure they weren’t new. Anyway, I never collected them. But I did buy into the Barbie collectable craze and bought all the company exclusive special editions. From what I can tell they really aren’t worth much now.

  21. A friend of mine got ahold of a Tickle Me Elmo when it was all the rage, and I told her to sell it ASAP because I knew the asking price would never be that high again, but she wanted to keep it for herself. I did not understand. Needless to say I never thought these things were a good investment.

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