Beanie Babies, manufactured by Ty, are small beanbag animals that remain popular collectibles. Like baseball cards, antique dolls and other collectibles, the price and value of certain Beanie Babies can be great. The value of a Beanie Baby can vary and fluctuate, as with any collectibles, but it usually depends on how rare and preserved the toy is.
Some Beanie Babies can individually sell for over £650 each on auction websites and in collection stores, while a full collection can sell for more than £6,500. These prices are never consistent, however; they depend entirely on the vendor/owner and how much they are asking for. The same Beanie Baby selling for £975 at one place may sell for £325 elsewhere.
Like many collectibles, the condition of the toys goes a long way toward determining their value. Their condition is ranked much like that of other collectibles: mint, near mint, excellent, good, etc. The closer the toy looks to having come exactly out of the box (no stains or discolouration of the fur, no damaged ribbons or tags), the more valuable the toy will be.
The original nine types of Beanie Babies are Brownie the Bear, Pinchers the Lobster, Legs the Frog, Squealer the Pig, Flash the Dolphin, Splash the Whale, Chocolate the Moose, Patti the Platypus and Spot the Dog. These nine originals have been retired from production and will be the most valuable of all the toys. Other Beanie Babies have been retired and will therefore greatly increase in value. Ty's official website has a list of which toys are retired.
There are counterfeit Beanie Babies out there manufactured by other parties who then claim them to be authentic. Beanie Babies that have absolute proof of authenticity will be valued much higher than others. A toy that has been authenticated will come in a clear plastic box and include a certificate of authenticity.
A handful of Beanie Babies were made slightly different than the others of their type; these have an even greater value. For example, a few Spot the Dog Toys didn't actually have spots on them. Some animals were made without tails. Also, some have different names that can affect their value; Brownie the Bear might be called Cubby instead, Pinchers the Lobster might be called Punches and Bongo the Monkey was originally called Nana.
The red, heart-shaped Ty tag is one of the most important factors in a Beanie Baby's value. Removing the tag from one of the toys is said to reduce its value by 50 per cent. The condition of the tag is also looked at with the rest of the toy's condition; it should not be bent. Protective sleeves are actually made to preserve the condition of the tag.