Beanie Babies were huge in the ’90s, with collectors of all ages racing to snatch up as many as possible. Some expected to be worth thousands by now, so are they? We brought in Beanie Baby and antique expert Dr. Lori Verderame to explain. She has more tips on her website. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Following is the transcript of the video.
Dr. Lori: The Millennium Bear is pure marketing. The only thing is, you got a crease in this particular tag, which decreases value.
Kara: I know with mistakes, that people tended to want them more.
Dr. Lori: That’s a myth. That’s a myth.
Dr. Lori: Let’s start with the Princess Diana Beanie Baby. Let’s talk a little bit about how Beanie Babies actually work. Out of the protective cube, which is a good idea. First of all, the Princess Diana Beanie Baby has been very, very popular, why? Well, of course, she raised a lot of money for the Princess Diana Memorial Foundation Fund.
She’s introduced 1997, 1998, and there are a couple things you want to look for. Now, protective tag covers, there’s the ear tag and there’s the tush tag on every single Beanie Baby. If you don’t have one of the tags, it’s not worth as much. I always like people to actually take a look at condition, ’cause people are just saying, “What about the tags?” The people who don’t know what they’re talking about with respect to expertise about Beanie Babies are only focusing on tags. There’s a lot to focus on, not only tags.
I want you to look at condition. If you were to sit your Beanie Baby in your hand, I want you to look here at this area to see how the PE or PVC pellets have deteriorated over time, ok? Condition is to collectibles what location is to real estate. It has to be in good shape. First of all, you have the protective cover. The plastic covers are a great thing to have. Then this one just opens right up.
The gloves are to protect the objects from the oils on my hands so they don’t get transferred. Any expert who’s not wearing gloves to handle your object is not an expert.
The pieces like this one, that have PE pellets, are worth less than those that have PVC pellets. This particular piece is worth about $US100 as it is, with PE pellets, in this condition, which is good condition, it’s not excellent, it’s not mint, it’s not very good, in good condition, and they sell for that. That’s based on the sales record retail where someone actually paid that much for a similar piece in good condition.
The Millennium. Now, this is pure marketing. The Millennium Bear is pure marketing. At the time of the millennium, we’re saying, “Oh, it’s gonna be the year 2000. “This is very important. “We’ve got a new millennium,” so they start to create these particular bears. This particular bear, it also has a condition issue. We have to look at the tag. It has this hologram on the back of the tag, and the hologram tush tags are relatively collectible. Value on this piece is about $US25.
Maureen, this is Valentino. He was very popular every Valentine’s Day. For the boyfriend who didn’t know what to get you, right? He couldn’t afford jewellery, he’s getting you Valentino, right? Basically, what you’re seeing here is the Valentino Beanie Baby. He’s made with PVC pellets, so that’s one of your check marks for, is it valuable? He’s in good condition around the torso. Looks like the PVC pellets have not deteriorated after being seated for all this time. You’re seeing also that there is a little bit of dirt. You can see a little bit of real oil from the hands, a little bit of dirt in the back, mainly, around the ear.
Then you have the original heart, and you have the original bow, and the like, but typically, the nose colour’s gonna be important, the brown nose versus the black nose. Valentino is relatively important. He’s also made in 1993 and introduced in 1993, which is quite old for, of course, the Beanie Babies, the introductory years of the Beanie Babies. Value on this, about $US100. Doesn’t have the same historical background as, of course, the Princess Diana, but the Princess Diana is much younger too, that Beanie Baby from 1997, this one from 1993. That’s a nice one too, and highly collectible. Lots of people have it with the brown nose. You have a pretty good collection.
There are some that are here that are pretty interesting, like this one. This one is Patti the Platypus. Patti the Platypus is one of the nine original Beanie Babies, and they come up all the time. They date to 1993. The only thing is, you got a crease in this particular tag, which decreases value a little bit. She’s worth about $US60 in this condition. That’s what you have here. Then there are some that aren’t worth much at all. You’re gonna find, actually, Beanie Babies that are worth a buck, and a buck. Today, the market has dropped on these.
Certain other ones that aren’t worth all that much, if we’re gonna go through. Of course, it’s good that you put them in a bag. Some of them are not worth the cost of the bag. This one, because this one is just sort of the free-for-all party Beanie Baby, would have been used all the time, not particularly, again, popular, and notice, your Valentino had a brown nose, and this one is the same doll, basically, with a black nose, worth less, about a buck.
These are the tiny Beanies, or the Baby Beanies. Little kids love small, so these tiny ones, while popular, are worth about 10 to 50 cents apiece. Some even drop in value because they were probably utilised, and then taken out of their original packages. Original packaging’s very important. These would have had an original package where others don’t.
Any time you have a collection, you can increase value just by buying more. People go, “Oh, I didn’t know that.” Any time you add to your collection, you actually increase the value a little bit of the entire collection.
Kara: It’s good that I was a little crazy?
Dr. Lori: A little bit, yeah, a little bit crazy is ok. OK, go ahead. Tell me about Bongo. You bought Bongo the Monkey. What happened?
Kara: I know, with mistakes, that people tended to want them more.
Dr. Lori: That’s a myth. That’s a myth. All this information about mistakes is one of the big myths on the internet. People sometimes do it for sport, they give you misinformation, or they discredit experts. All that information about, “Oh, it has this mistake,” not always relates to value. This becomes a condition issue. You wrote on this. “To Kara, from Mum,” so she wrote on it, and it’s lovely, it’s a nice sentiment, but sentiment just decreased value, ok? Don’t write on the tag, but all this thing about mistakes on tags, yes, mistakes can have an impact on value, but usually, it’s a myth that it’s going to spike value. That’s Bongo the Monkey.
Let’s talk about some of the other ones that are not worth all that much. For example, your unicorns are not worth all that much. They don’t collect very well. Any ones that relates to a particular situation or time period, in this particular case, the season of graduation seasons, oftentimes, the Beanie Baby pumpkins are not all that collectible. These are oftentimes worth somewhere around a buck apiece, so about a dollar apiece. You want to try to think about those. A Santa Claus that is a Beanie Baby, not usually very collectible, so again, these are about a dollar each. They’re fine, they’re good to collect, they’re good stocking stuffers, but beyond that, they’re not the same kind of collectible element as others might be.
Then there are what I call the middle range Beanie Babies like Inky, and Hippity, and Hoppity, that were always, of course, the bunny rabbits that were very popular, Inky the Squid, who’s popular. This is just for basic popularity’s sake. These become relatively important. I’m scanning as we look to see which other ones. Oh, Claude the Crab here is oftentimes quite popular. That’s what you’re looking at. These are anywhere between $US15 and $US35 apiece. These are relatively valuable, but the most valuable group are some that you have right here.
You have almost the whole group of the original nine Beanie Babies. They include Chocolate the Moose, Legs the Frog, Squealer the Pig, this is Patti the Platypus, and Pinchers the Lobster. Of the original nine, you have five. The other ones are Splash, Flash, one’s a dolphin, one’s a whale, and Spot the Dog, who I looked, and you don’t seem to have Spot, unfortunately.
Basically, what you’re looking at are these, and these are a really good collection of the original nine. To have five of the original nine is pretty good. I’ve had, of course, some clients who have all nine. These range in value between about $US125 and $US150 apiece. They’re worth more because you keep them in a collection. If you had all nine, or if you’re at your mum’s house, you’re like, “Wow, we found another tub of Beanie Babies,” which might happen at your mum’s house, right? It’s possible, then basically, you might be able to actually increase the value, but any time you add to that collection, you increase value a little bit more. These are about 150 apiece. They’re all in very good shape.
Chocolate is among one of the most popular, and sometimes, he sells as high as 250. Your condition on Chocolate is not worth that. These are the real values. This is what they’re really worth. Let’s talk about handbooks.
Kara: I also have McDonald’s ones.
Dr. Lori: The McDonald’s ones are usually less valuable unless they’re within a collection of other McDonaldland toys.
Kara: I have full collections.
Dr. Lori: Full collections. Full collection will increase value about 20% because you’ve already assembled a collection for the next guy. That has a value to it because that person doesn’t have to run around and do the work that you and your mother did, going to Canada, getting them here, going to gift shop, right.
These books, these handbooks, not only this handbook, but any handbook that talks about a value is going to be obsolete about the time, right a minute after it’s printed. A minute after it’s printed, it’s obsolete, and the reason, not that it’s a bad thing, people like it, people collect them, it shows you the different pieces, and it’s nice and fun to do, but again, any of these price guides are only good for the person who’s basically writing the price guide because the price can change within a minute of somebody paying more or less than the value in the price guide. I don’t care what antique or collectible it is. Price guides, not really what you’re looking for. This is really a thing of the past.
If you’ve retained the tag, that’s better than just gone. I threw it out, I don’t know where it is, kind of thing. Value on this piece is about $US25.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.