Beanie Babies: 20 years later, are they worth anything?

Nov. 23, 2016: Remember the Beanie Baby craze? Many of us held on to those toys, thinking they'd be worth a lot of money someday. Well, some of them are.

Long lines on Black Friday have long been a hallmark of holiday shopping, but many people remember lining up at other times of the year, too, for Beanie Babies.

Those pellet-filled pals were among the crazes of Christmas past - and some still hold value.

Twenty years ago, the Beanie Baby craze was at a fever pitch. Long lines stretched outside gift store doors. Some retailers imposed limits on Beanie Babies per customer. In 1997, Ty unveiled its "Teenie Beanies" at McDonalds across the country.

And many people, justifying their collection, said, "These will be worth something someday!"

Garrett Manry is a vintage dealer at Nostalgia in West Knoxville, where one of his fellow vendors has a handful of Beanie Babies and Teenie Beanies for sale.

"I think it's pretty hilarious that people back in the day were like, 'Oh, we're buying these to put our kids through college,'" he said, holding a pelican Teenie Beanie in his hand. "Now it's 2016 and 'Scoop' here will cost you a whole dollar."

Originally priced at about $5 per Beanie, A.C. Moore Arts and Crafts store in West Knoxville is currently selling Beanies for $3.99.

Collectible value aside, store manager Joe Peace said, these little guys have broad appeal.

"Mainly because they're cuddly, you know, and kids love small little stuffed animals," he said.

Starting in the late 90s, though, the value of rare and retired Beanies quickly shot up.

Vintage WBIR 10News file video shows a "Peace" bear selling at a Knoxville sale marked at $115 and a "Tabasco the Bull" marked at $175.

"Some are worth something and some are not worth as much," Dr. Lori, antiques appraiser, said.

Beanies sitting in a box under someone's bed or in their attic, Dr. Lori said, could be worth something.

"There's sometimes called the First Wave, and the First Wave are nine particular Beanie Babies that were introduced quite early on, in the early 1990s, and they still hold their value better than some of the ones that they were making in, you know, the early 2000s and this kind of thing," she said.

Those nine, according to her website, are Patti the platypus, Spot the dog, Squealer the pig, Brownie (later called Cubbie) the bear, Chocolate the moose, Pinchers the lobster, Splash the killer whale, Legs the frog and Flash the dolphin.

It depends, however, on condition. Beanies that were loved (i.e. heavily played with) probably haven't retained any value.

A person could always seek an appraiser's input, however, or do some internet research on their own.

Hot Wheels, Cabbage Patch Dolls, Super heroes, Star Wars figures and Barbies are also toys that can hold value.

"Particularly the Barbies that relate to celebrity ... or a particular season ... or a particular event," Dr. Lori said. "Some of them had holiday Barbies or the Barbies that were in wedding gowns because of Princess Diana's wedding in 1981."

Back to the value of Beanie Babies, though.

Kids and parents of the 90s, who bought into "Beanie Mania," know much of the fun was in the hunt, and you can't put a price on that.

For more information on which Beanie Babies may be valuable - and how you can tell - check out Dr. Lori's article HERE.

She also has advice on vintage Hot Wheels, Fisher Price toys and other collectibles.

(© 2016 WBIR)


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