Valuable Beanie babies (not!)

The thread on how some comics were thought to be valuable and weren’t inspires this:

I have collected a bunch of different things over the years and am an author in the field. So I have seen many examples of people getting carried away by misinformation, be it word of mouth or the Antique Roadshow. Not so much bad info in the latter case - just, “Wow, my Indian blanket looks just like that one worth $10,000”. No, it doesn’t.

But the Beanie Babies have once again reared their pretty little heads in the case of the Princess Diana Bear.

The whole thing got started when Ty Warner sent a note to dealers that each store could only order 12 in the initial release in late 1997. People panicked and the buying craze began. No matter that Ty Warner sent them all they wanted in the next order. They sold millions of them. But the word about the rarity got started and hasn’t quit 20 years later.

Every few years someone writes an article about the Princess Di bear they just found and how it is worth $60,000 and “Thank you, God, I just had to share this information with everyone, we are blessed.” On Facebook, various forums, and actual newspaper articles.

Here is a link to one story that made the papers:

They aren’t worth squat. A quick look at eBay shows them for sale from $2.00 to $90,000. People quickly figured out the various subtle differences of the many lots that were made. Several types of pellets and a variety of label spellings. “THIS ONE HAS THE PVC PELLETS AND THE SPACE AFTER THE NAME – YOU WILL NEVER SEE ANOTHER ONE IN YOUR LIFE – I AM SACRIFICING THIS ONE FOR $20,000 BECAUSE WE NEED A NEW CAR”.

I have seen some listings where they go over the differences and point out their label which is the most common one, not the earlier (but still plentiful) version. They can’t even get the hype right. They didn’t even go on eBay and look at the asking prices, “Hmm, I wonder why so many are under five bucks?”

There are a few legitimate valuable Beanies, most are ones that were offered only to employees or for special local occasions.

I have a complete set of the cute vegetable head series sold at a local chain supermarket. Like Mister Potato Head but a dozen different fruits and vegetables. I spotted the display as they set it out late one night and bought one of each.

They aren’t made by Ty Warner. I Photoshopped a Ty label over the real one and sent a picture to a friend who was into Beanies back then. Ha ha! But now I’m hoping to help send the grandkids to college. I have never seen any for sale. Offers accepted.


My uncle and my mother, when they died, were both buried, uncle holding a cocker spaniel BB and mother holding a cat BB. They had their beloved pets buried with them - figuratively speaking.


Same way with Comics.
Some dummy wander around with a set of cover-less, water-damaged reprinted editions, from the late 80s, & insists they’re worth a fortune.

And won’t go away, when you tell him they’re worthless.

If you look on Ebay you’ll see they’re selling US Mint test notes, which are basically blank, dollar sized pieces of paper with serial numbers printed on them. They try and convince you that these are worth 10’s of thousands of dollars a piece. I’d be amazed if anybody ever bought one of these for more than a hundred dollars.

I’ll still be able to retire on my Gretzky rookie cards, though, right?

Yeah, comics are hard. I’ve got The Incredible Hulk #181. I’ve seen prices between $32,000 and $100, depending on quality. It’s a Schrodinger thing, as long as I don’t get it graded, it could be worth thousands.

You can find out what people pay for these by getting “sold listings.” And there are some respectable prices being paid for some oddities anyway.

I’m kind of in the same boat with my Gretzky cards, of which I really do have five - collected by chance during that one year of my childhood when I bought hockey cards, despite not being then or now any kind of actual fan of hockey. Assuming I have to get them professionally graded if I expect to sell them for any kind of profit, I have to gamble at least $15 per card, plus shipping fees, so I’m out over a hundred bucks for the chance at a big payoff… maybe. My cards are definitely not mint or even near-mint, and checking eBay shows that plenty of graded cards of supposedly higher quality are for sale, with lots of auction-watchers but few auction-bidders.

But on those you need to look at the ones with multiple bids. The ones that sold for many thousands with only one bid or “offer accepted” are suspicious.


In late 1997 or early 1998, I was at a strip mall about to get my hair cut when a woman came out of the Hallmark store, grabbed my arm, and squealed, “They have Princess Diana Beanie Babies!” :confused: was my response; she apologized and assumed I’d be interested because I am a woman.


Several months later, I found one at a garage sale for 25 cents. I still have it.

I’m a Friends of the Library volunteer and one of my duties is listing valuable donated items on their Amazon account. The woman who heads the program at my branch is CONSTANTLY insisting that things are more valuable than they are, and wants to overprice them - and then complain that we have no room for new donations. We sell most hardcovers for 50 cents, and more than once, I have removed price tags with her handwriting on them for things that really weren’t worth, say, $20. :o I’m not going to tell her that I’m the one who’s doing it, that’s for sure.

This book tells the Beanie Baby story, along with the stories of some people who made very disastrous decisions regarding collecting these items.

One story that wasn’t in the book was the one that got a lot of press at the time. An Obnoxious Morning Deejay was going to cut one open to see what was inside, and you would have thought he was going to cut one of his children open to see what was inside, the way people reacted. :rolleyes: