Most Valuable Beanie Babies (Complete Value Guide)
Paul Williamson – April 14th, 2020
Paul Williamson – April 14th, 2020
Estate sale goers often search for highly-coveted beanie babies. Neighborhood estate sales are a great place to discover a stash of beanie babies, as these cute little plush toys were often someone’s prized collectibles.
If you find a group of beanie babies, you have two choices. You can either keep them as stuffed animal collectibles that you proudly display in your home. Or, you can resell these appealing plush toys at their beanie baby value. While you probably hope your newly-discovered beanie babies are worth a fortune, they may not be. And you’ll soon find it’s easier to sell them if you ask for realistic prices. Keep reading our beanie baby value guide for accurate and recent sale prices on popular beanie babies.
Back in 1993, stuffed animal salesman Ty Warner brought his beanie babies to the New York City World Toy Fair. These small plush toys contained both traditional stuffing and “beans,” or small, plastic, PVC pellets. The blend of materials allowed the plush toys to pose in clever positions.
To market his beanie babies, Ty Warner formed the Ty Inc. corporation. He marketed the little plush toys directly to children and sold them in small specialty shops.
The small stuffed animals were also wildly popular collectibles, mostly because Ty Inc. sold them in limited quantities. From time to time, Ty Inc. retired several Ty beanie baby designs. This led collectors to scoop up large numbers of beanie babies, for fear that they would soon be off the market.
The beanie baby craze continued throughout the 1990s, and the average value of each stuffed animal was wildly inflated. Beanie baby production stopped in the early 2000s.
Today, there are thousands of beanie babies on eBay and other online marketplaces. With huge numbers of these little plush toys on the market, many previously valuable beanie babies have lost much of their collectible value.
Ty Inc. launched numerous “generations” of beanie babies. The first generation appeared in 1993 and consisted of the nine original beanie babies. These cute little critters included water-based beanies such as Legs the Frog, Splash the Whale, Flash the Dolphin, and Pinchers the Lobster.
Land-based original beanie babies included Chocolate the Moose, Squealer the Pig, and Spot the Dog. Brownie the Bear (later named Cubbie the Bear) and Patti the Platypus were also members of the Original Beanie Babies. The first generation plush toys have always had more beanie baby value compared to later generations.
To determine the stuffed animal’s correct generation, collectors look at the plush toy’s swing tag (or hang tag). These tags are often connected to the stuffed animal’s head or nearby body part. The little plush toys’ tush tags (or bottom tags) are also an indicator of their generation.
First, second, and third generation beanie babies are known as unique or rare beanies. Ty Inc. only produced a few thousand of each type, so they are quite collectible. And, when in good condition, they tend to be among the most valuable beanie babies. You’ll probably find these desirable stuffed animals in a beanie baby price guide.
On the other hand, beanies from fourth and later generations aren’t among the beanie babies worth money. These little plush toys are known as common beanie babies and were mass-produced by the millions, lowering their collectible value.
Ty Inc. was always looking for ways to keep the beanie baby frenzy going. So, in 1997, the company ran a promotion that included smaller McDonald’s Teenie Beanies in United States’ children’s Happy Meals.
McDonald’s planned to distribute 100 million Teenie Beanies over five weeks. However, the Teenie Beanies were completely gone in two weeks.
Since 1997, McDonald’s has run other Teenie Beanie promotions, most recently in 2019. Even though millions of these miniature beanie babies are still wrapped in their plastic packages, none of them have any beanie baby value.
During the late 1990s, many beanie babies collectors assumed these plush stuffed animals would no longer be available as of January 1, 2000. That date marked the onset of the new millennium.
In 1999, Ty Inc. officially retired several beanie babies, and there wasn’t any market response. Those beanies didn’t increase in value, and there wasn’t any spike in demand. That was the beginning of the end for beanie babies.
Collectors went into a panic and flooded eBay with tons of beanie babies. With so many beanies suddenly on the market, their value dropped like a rock. In desperation, Ty Warner stated that all beanie babies would stop production by January 31, 1999. His announcement didn’t do anything to calm the market down.
By the early 2000s, most beanies were worth about 1 percent of their original market price, says Zac Bissonnette in the book The Great Beanie Baby Bubble.
Several variables can influence a specific beanie baby’s value. First, a rare beanie, produced in relatively small numbers, generally brings higher prices.
The beanie baby’s provenance is also important. Provenance can mean a Certificate of Authenticity or a documented story about the person who owned the little plush collectible.
Sometimes, the manufacturer produced beanies with the wrong color. Or, the beanie might have a brown nose instead of a tan nose. Perhaps the tag lettering was incorrect. These production quirks often increased the beanie baby’s value.
Beanie baby tags are extremely important, as they can determine the beanie’s generation. The beanie’s hang tag and tush tag should match. Damaged or missing tags can greatly decrease the beanie’s value. On the other hand, a tag error often raises the beanie baby’s value.
Let’s say the hang tag (or swing tag) is missing, damaged, or has been marred with writing. If that’s the case, the beanie baby’s value drops to almost nothing.
Beanie babies were made with many different types of tush tags. So, it’s harder to identify (and price) a beanie baby with its tush tag alone.
In 1998, Ty Inc. decided to stop stuffing beanie babies with PVC pellets. Instead, the company switched to PE pellets, which were supposed to be more environmentally friendly.
So, beanies that contained PVC pellets aren’t as common, and may have a slightly higher beanie baby value. Your beanie baby’s tush tag will tell you which type of pellets the beanie baby contains.
As you view these beanie baby values, you’ll notice drastic differences between the plush toys’ listing and sale prices. When the seller lists the item, they decide how much money they’d like to ask for the beanie baby. Then, the buyer decides how much they’re willing to pay for the toy. Note that the beanie’s overall condition and tags’ condition play a part in the equation. The demand for that particular beanie, and the number of those beanies on the market, are also factors in the sale price.
Peace the Bear (or Peace Bear) made his appearance in 1997 and was retired in 1999. Peace Bear’s tie-dyed fur came in two color schemes, but each bear is different. This spirited little beanie replaced Garcia the Bear, who also featured a tie-dyed color scheme.
Peace Bear has an embroidered peace symbol on his chest and was the first beanie baby to feature an embroidered emblem. The rarest Peace Bears don’t have a peace symbol, and they’re worth much more than beanies with a peace sign.
Mystic the Unicorn is an extremely popular beanie baby and was issued in several different editions. The original-edition Mystic the Unicorn was created in 1994. This hot collector’s beanie is among the rare beanie babies.
You can’t miss Mystic the Unicorn’s mane, which featured several different colors over the years. Mystic’s horn, which comes in different styles and materials, ad his blue eyes are certainly major parts of his appeal. If your Mystic the Unicorn has tag errors, he’s truly a rare beanie and could be worth more.
Pinchers was one of the Original Beanie Babies. He was introduced in 1994 and retired in 1998. Pinchers sports a snazzy, dark red body, along with black eyes and two notably large claws.
When Pinchers first came on the market, he had a tush tag error that called him “Punchers the Lobster.” Beanies with the typo have more value compared to beanies without.
This early-edition beanie baby hit the stores in 1995, and was retired during the same year. Nana featured soft brown fur with light brown feet, face, hands, and tail.
Bongo the Monkey replaced Nana, but the two beanies have different characteristics. If you can find an original Nana the Monkey that shows “Nana” on her tush tag, you may have a high-value beanie baby.
Little Patti the Platypus has always been a hot-selling beanie baby. This early-edition beanie came in several different versions, most of which aren’t especially rare.
However, when Patti is magenta, she can be very valuable. The magenta-colored Patti the Platypus has always been the most popular among collectors. This is the oldest-edition Patti, and her magenta coat gives her a distinctive style and a higher asking price.
Listing Price: $6,500
Recent eBay Sale Price: $3.50 to $150
The spunky-looking Snort the Red Bull received his name in a rather odd fashion. In 1997, Ty Inc. was about to be hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit that involved the company’s then-named Tabasco the Bull beanie baby. The manufacturers of Tabasco Sauce claimed that Ty Inc. had illegally used the brand’s name.
To stay out of legal trouble, Ty Inc. changed the bull’s name from Tabasco to Snort. Both bulls feature red fur with white snouts, feet, and horns. Some tag errors show the bull’s initial name, which likely gives this version a higher value.
Gobbles is another 1997-era beanie that came in several different style schemes. Some Gobbles beanies had a single-layer, felted waddle, while others featured a double-layer waddle.
Gobbles’ tail feathers were attached at different heights, depending on the version. Tag errors may also increase Gobbles’ beanie baby value.
In 1995, Ty Inc. created the royal blue Peanut the Elephant, now one of the rarest of the rare beanie babies. The royal blue version was only around for a short period of time. Maybe the royal blue color resulted from a dye accident, or perhaps customers really didn’t like it.
Regardless of the reason why, Ty Inc. changed Peanut’s color to a light, powder blue, and children absolutely loved it. Peanut the Elephant also came in gray and purple versions. Today, a royal blue Peanut the Elephant fetches more money than other versions.
This special-edition white beanie baby was created to symbolize a small child’s guardian angel, complete with halo and wings. Halo appeared on the market in 1998 and was swiftly retired.
If your Halo the Angel Bear sports white fur with a white star, you may have one of the rare beanie babies. Tush tag errors also increase the beanie baby’s value.
The earth-toned Claude the Crab sports all the features of a real crab. Claude has a “shell” composed of greens, browns, and darker blues. He also has a white underside. He really looks like he might have crawled off the seafloor.
Although Claude was previously listed for $10,000 in several online shops, the beanie’s owner stated that his real price is $100,000. The owner cited a typing mistake as the reason for the difference.
Pricey little Iggy the Iguana has had many different design schemes, making him very popular with collectors. Some Iggy variations feature rainbow colors, while others have a protruding tongue, and even other Iggys have different tag locations.
If your Iggy the Iguana has a tag without any print, that’s a super-rare beanie. So, he is likely worth more than other Iggys in similar condition.
This little white-furred beanie sports a stylish red bow and a bright red heart on his chest. The contrasting colors only add to Valentino’s appeal.
On a tiny proportion of Valentino bears, you’ll note a misspelled name tag. This tag error can greatly increase this beanie baby’s value, and it makes him very popular among collectors.
This charming little guy was one of the original beanie babies and was retired not long after he was introduced. Brownie had soft brown fur accented by a tan snout.
Brownie is among the higher-priced beanie babies. Later on, Brownie’s identical twin “Cubbie” hit the market, but he’s not as valuable.
Each member of this quirky bunny trio features soft, pastel fur and a matching bow. These bunnies were likely very appealing around Easter time.
Because beanie babies were rarely sold in sets, this three-bunny grouping carries a hefty price tag. If it’s in mint condition, that’s even better.
The much-coveted Princess the Bear is in a class by herself. Introduced in 1997 after Princess Diana’s death, this regal purple bear features a lovely white rose on her chest.
Ty Inc. placed Princess on the market to encourage beanie baby and Princess Diana lovers to donate to the late princess’ memorial fund. Princess the Bear has a super-high price tag that may be designed to match her elegant appearance.
Just two months after Princess Diana’s death in August 1997, Ty Inc. issued this special-edition Princess Bear. Ty Warner promised that all proceeds would be sent directly to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.
Ty Warner told retailers they could only purchase 12 Princess Bears at once. As a result, collectors and Princess Diana fans thought these would be limited-edition beanies, but they were wrong. When demand for Princess Bears increased, Ty Inc. made more of them, and that drove down the beanies’ price.
Today, a Princess Diana beanie baby is generally priced at $2 to $30 each. Remember, the price depends on the plush toy’s condition and the type of pellets used. Listing prices can also vary according to the selling venue.
Princess Diana wasn’t the only celebrity who inspired a special beanie baby. Jerry Garcia, the late vocalist and lead guitarist with the Grateful Dead, was memorialized with a 1960s-style, tie-dyed beanie baby bear.
The eBay marketplace is a proven way to determine beanie baby value numbers. A beanie’s asking price may be totally unrealistic, so you should look at the eBay “Sold” listings. Here, you’ll find details on completed transactions.
Checking beanie babies’ “Sold” prices is simple. Enter the beanie’s description in the search bar. Next, click “Search.”
Click “Advanced” to the search bar’s right side, and re-confirm your search details. Then, click the “Sold Listings” checkbox, and you’ll receive your results.
If you don’t see “Sold” prices for your desired design, perform the same search for similar-generation designs with the same condition information.
Let’s say your beanie baby hasn’t recently sold on eBay. If that’s the case, consider valuing the beanie for 10% to 20% off the listed price in a current beanie baby price guide.