Is collecting Beanie Babies still really a thing?

I was having a conversation with a friend, joking about all the “collectors” that spent lots of money on BBs under the assumption that they were investing. So out of curiosity I googled Beanie Baby and EBay and found listings in the thousands of dollars.

This person has been a member since 2007 and has a 100% positive feedback rating.

Are these listings for real or is this just some eBay scam I’m not aware of?

Gee, it’d be nice if it was still a thing. I have a huge pile of them that my daughter left behind and doesn’t want. It’d be nice if I could sell them and send her a check.

When the craze was at its height, my nephew kept telling us how much his collection was worth. We kept pointing out that it was only worth what someone was willing to pay him for it, but he was sure he was rich!

Kids are adorable… :smiley:

The Beanie Baby bubble:

Well, if you click on Retired Beanie Babies, and sort prices highest to lowest, there are a bunch listed for over $100,000, but they are almost only the “Princess Diana RARE 1997 memorial beanie baby”. The listings range from in the 6 digits to down in the 4 digits, and probably even lower but I didn’t keep clicking through all the listings. It looks like to me there’s just a bunch of eternally optimistic people hoping to sell their rare Beanie Babies, but not a huge market for them.

Also, I just scrolled down on the listing you linked to and my heart broke a little:

I hope they have other potential sources to pay for surgeries and are not relying on this sale.

How is that one at all related to Princess Diana? Its just a purple bear with a flower! It doesn’t even look like her! And I have it from a good source that Princess Di wasn’t even a bear at all!

Sure it’s adorable when they’re kids, but then they grow up and become investors in tulips, the stock market, or real estate.

Greater fool theory

If you look at sold listings (the only way you should ever use eBay to determine the price for something), there are a handful of them that have sold for over $10,000. Most expensive I see in the last month is $35,000. Plenty of collectible things are worth that much, so I don’t see a reason to think that those sales are some kind of fraud. So, there are probably a few that are still very rare and desirable.

The vast majority are just a few dollars, though.

Ty Warner has a pretty sweet house in Montecito, though, and is still selling new ones, so they’re still a thing that exists.

This book, about the Ty Corporation, came out last year.

After the Princess Diana Beanie Babies came out, I was walking by a Hallmark store and a woman came out, grabbed my arm, and squealed that the store had them. She must have been able to tell from my facial expression how excited I was about it :p, and realized she’d made an incorrect assumption about me - that just because I was a woman didn’t mean I was interested in it.

The following summer, I found one at a garage sale for 25 cents. :smack: Still have it, too.

Anything manufactured and sold and marketed and purchased as a collectible can’t become a collectible. It’s only after the product is no longer produced, and people still want the product, but there is a limited supply of the product, will the value of the surviving instances increase.

Comic books from the 80s are generally not collectible, because everyone who bought comics in the 80s kept them, and so there are thousands of copies out there. Only a few issues are collectible, and those are ones where the print run of the original issue was a lot smaller than the subsequent interest in that particular issue. There are all sorts of issues of comics that have the first appearance of some dumb character that no one cares about. But if you have the first appearance of a particular character that is popular today then that issue is potentially valuable, simply because the publisher didn’t know to print an extra million copies of the first appearance of Wallaby Lass. If they knew Wallaby Lass was going to sell an extra million copies they would have printed those millions, and so the Wallaby Lass issue wouldn’t be worth anything special because anyone who wanted it could find an issue lying around.

And so with beanie babies. The factory that made them could make as many as they wanted, the scarcity and thus the secondary market was entirely artificial. And so there is no secondary market today for beanie babies, except for a very few rare specimens that nobody has. So “having lots of beanie babies” is a thing, but “collecting beanie babies” is not a thing.

Not true. Counter example: Magic cards.

They’ve always been marketed/sold as collectible, and the rarer ones are indeed worth hundreds or thousands of dollars, and have exhibited a strong upward trend for decades as the audience for the game expands. Even though they print all the market will bear, every few years the market is bigger, and the older cards become limited. They also limit the production of certain cards to make them more valuable. Carefully managed, this does work sometimes.

One way to think about this is like a “freemium” video game. Lots of people can play for free, and yet the producers can still make money on premium collectible swag.

Well, like Diana after the crash, the beanie has no solid skeleton.

$92,000 for a Beanie!!! Holy shit.

I read the thread title as “Bernie Babies.” Then I thought… :smack: if I thought of this months ago, I’d be sitting on gold mine!

Too soon.

I used to work in a thrift store, and there were resellers who’d scoop up Beanies and such while industriously looking up their alleged resale value. (sigh)

I like how the 692k bear says “1 of only 14 in the world” - and then there is 13 other listings for it on the same page.

(I’m sure there is some bit of info I’m missing, but sheesh)

My mom had a few hundred in a room she kept for the grandkids to play with. We gave them all to Goodwill after she died.

These days, thrift stores have eBay accounts, and all the collectible stuff is skimmed off before it ever gets on the shelf, leaving nothing but hotel ashtrays and Garfield coffee cups.

My former employer doesn’t, so far as I’m aware, and my DH still works there. We do have locked cases with “collectible” items, and I’ve seen some pretty high-end stuff in there.

That’s what THEY want you to think.