The Ty company Beanie Babies were born in 1993. The little pellet-filled stuffed animals were meant to be inexpensive toys, but some became hot items for collectors. A few took on significant value for a while. In 2011, rarity and condition determine which Beanie Babies are the most valuable. Beanie Babies collectibles vary widely in value based on several factors.
Mint and Near Mint Condition
Beanie Babies are generally divided into one of five condition categories. "Mint" condition Beanie Babies are worth the most. They are just like new with no wear and tear and it still has both of its tags. "Near Mint" Beanie Babies are in similar condition as mint, but may have slightly damaged or bent tags. They are worth 80 to 90 per cent of the value of a mint condition Beanie Babies doll.
An "Excellent" condition Beanie Babies may have some slight flaw or its hang tag may be creased or worn. This reduces the value by 25 to 35 per cent. A missing tag on an otherwise perfect Beanie Babies animal reduces the value farther into the "Very Good" category, which is only worth 45 to 60 per cent of the mint condition. Damaged Beanie Babies vary and may be worth as little as 5 per cent of the mint condition Beanie Babies animal, according to the eBay Beanie Babies Buying Guide.
The Original Nine
The original 1993 Beanies were Legs (a frog), Squealer (a pig), Brownie the Bear, Flash the Dolphin, Splash the Whale, Patti the Platypus, Chocolate the Moose, Pinchers the Lobster and Spot the dog -- who did not have a spot on him. Production of the original nine stopped by 1998. At the height of the Beanies craze in 2002, these nine in mint condition were valued at more than £65 each. As of 2011, the demand for these Beanie Babies had dropped enough that none retained any significant value.
Retired or Defective
Retired Beanie Babies are no longer in production and they generally are more valuable than those still in production. A retired toy with an unusual manufacturing defect, like a missing ear, could be more valuable than a perfect one. To find out if your Beanie Babies are retired or defective, compare them with listings in an online guide like Beanie Best Buy's website.
Top Valued Beanie Babies
According to the Republic Jewelry and Collectibles website, 15 of the top 20 valued Beanie Babies are bears. As of 2011, the top valued toy at £39 was Liberty, a retired white bear with an embroidered American flag on his chest. Next in line was Wales, a United Kingdom-only special edition bear with the words "I Love Wales" stitched across the torso. This bear was valued around £35 in 2011. The next most valuable Beanies all fell into the upper £19 range in 2011.