In 1993, Ty released the first Beanie Babies, and by 1995, it felt like the entire world was collecting them. The company deliberately limited the number of each toy they produced to create scarcity. Additionally, they were constantly creating new designs and retiring old ones. This led to a gigantic secondary market of collectors trying to collect the rarest Beanie Babies. For the most part, the most expensive and valuable Beanie Babies are either exclusives or have some very specific defects.
Following Princess Diana's unfortunate death in 1997, Ty released a special edition purple Princess Diana bear to raise funds for the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. Though the bear itself is quite common, its value goes up depending on what stuffing it contains. Most Princess Bears contain polyethylene pellets, making them common and not worth much to collectors. However, a small number of Princess Bears contain polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pellets instead. These Princess Bears are worth much more, with one selling for around $10,000 in January of 2019.
One of the first Beanie Babies to really become a collector's item was Peanut the Elephant. Ty originally produced Peanut in June 1995, before the Beanie Baby craze had begun in earnest. For the most part, sales of the original Peanut were poor, and many stores wouldn't carry more than a few Beanie Babies. Ty rereleased Peanut a few months later with a different color of fur, just as the craze really began. The original Peanut with royal blue fur quickly became a collector's item and was the first truly collectible Beanie Baby. After several decades and many counterfeits, the royal blue Peanut's value has fallen but still sits between $1,000 and $2,000.
Even among Beanie Babies, Iggy is a unique case. Iggy the Iguana has had many different production cycles and a wide variety of designs. His tie-dye coloration changes wildly between each cycle, and his tongue can range from a dark blue to a neon rainbow. This led to many printing errors that dramatically changed his coloring. Add in the possible tag defects and placements, and Iggy becomes a Beanie Baby with unique collectibility. An Iggy with tag errors, PVC pellets, and rainbow coloring sold for almost $5,000. Even rarer defects, such as tags without print on their inside, can push the value up to $15,000.
One of the most popular Beanie Babies is and was Claude the Crab. Since his release in 1997, Claude has had many variations, and most are worth less than $10. However, as with many Beanie Babies, defects dramatically alter Claude's value. Recently, a Claude with 19 different errors sold on eBay for around $9,000. This is probably the highest price that Claude can reach, though variations with a few errors will likely still be worth a significant amount.
If there's a discussion for the singular most valuable Beanie Baby, Valentino the Bear just might qualify. Depending on which market Ty created him for, Valentino could have a wide range of errors and defects. A Valentino with every known error sold for a shocking $42,299 on eBay. These errors included PVC pellets, a white star instead of the typical yellow star, a brown nose instead of a black one, a tag with many typos, and much more. Even without these errors, Valentino can still sell for almost $1,000, making him one of the most expensive Beanie Babies out there.
In 1996, Ty produced Lefty the Donkey and Righty the Elephant to celebrate both U.S. political parties. They released new designs for Lefty and Righty in 2000, 2003, and 2008. For the most part, Lefty and Righty weren't worth much money because of their political nature and wide availability. However, a man brought two 2000 variations of Lefty toys when he met Hillary Clinton in 2006. The man had Clinton sign each Lefty for his daughters, making them truly exclusive. Originally, both signed Beanie Babies held a combined value of $50,000. Currently, a single Lefty is available for sale on eBay for $30,000. The sale listing includes newspaper articles of Clinton signing the toys.
Many of the original nine Beanie Babies carry value because they were only available in small quantities before the hype of Beanie Babies hit their peak. Ty released Patti on January 8th, 1993, with a magenta color. Though different colored variations have come out since Patti's original debut, the magenta remains the rarest and most valuable. Add in possible errors and defects, and Patti's value only increases. In fact, some Patti toys have rare Korean four line tush tags. The tag alone can make a standard Beanie Baby carry a worth of almost $2,000. Add in the rarity of a magenta Patti, and it's easy to see just how expensive they could become. Current sale listings vary from a few thousand dollars to almost $20,000.
At the height of the Beanie Baby craze, McDonald's and Ty formed an incredibly successful business collaboration. In the mid-90s, McDonald's began to include scaled-down Beanie Babies with their Happy Meals. This deal was incredibly popular, and, as a result, most of the Happy Meal Beanie Babies are worth very little. However, McDonald's did have an International Bears collection, including bears that represented different countries. Some of these bears are rarer than others, causing them to have a significantly higher value. Bears from Ireland, the U.S., Britain, and Canada can each be worth around $10,000.
Many different companies paired with Ty to release special edition bears. Surprisingly, even MasterCard wanted special Beanie Babies. Every MasterCard applicant received a special M.C. Beanie if they signed up for the card between 2001 and 2002. Not only was the bear the first Beanie Baby to actually have "Beanie" in its name, but it also has unique defects and extremely limited availability. The version with a brown nose is incredibly rare and is worth several thousand dollars.
Ty originally released its first ever bull, Beanie Baby, with the name Tabasco. Though the bull had a production cycle lasting a few years, Ty eventually became worried about possible copyright issues and pulled the bull from production. As a replacement, Ty released Snort in 1997. Snort's production cycle lasted less than a year, making it one of the rarer Beanie Babies. Both bulls are worth a surprising amount, with Tabasco selling for a few thousand dollars in most auctions. However, Snort's short production cycle boosted its value, and one sold for over $6,000 in December of last year.
Originally released in January 1996 and retired in May 1998, Weenie the Dachshund was the first Beanie Baby to stand on all four paws, driving up his value. The classic edition is made with PVC pellets, and there's a rare edition that was made in Indonesia but features a Canadian tush tag. Another valuable doll was featured in sports promotions for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Finding a Weenie with tag errors could also score you big bucks. One was sold on eBay for a whopping $45,000.
Bubbles was introduced in 1995, and his value has skyrocketed since. Abundant with manufacturing abnormalities, this famous fish is worth a fortune if you can spot them. The third-generation doll's mouth has mismatched thread, while fourth-generation Bubbles has spelling errors on his tush tag.
With errors such as numerically written birthdays and limited edition hang tags, these expensive aquatic creatures have sold for $130,000, with even non-error editions selling for around $20,000.
Be prepared to spend your annual salary on Picadilly the Clown. Rare copies with tag errors can sell for $50,000, and perfect condition dolls have reached prices of $125,000. Instead of a four-line rhyme, Picadilly's tag says, "Laughter is the Best Medicine." One version wears a red, green, yellow, and blue outfit with a red collar, while another wears a green and blue clown's outfit.
You might find later additions mis-tagged completely; some rare bears are tagged as Azalea.
Batty is a rarity due to his limited run and unique features. He was introduced in January 1999 and retired in March of the same year; he has wings that connect together with velcro and paws produced with felt. Ultra rare dolls from Batty's limited production run are the most valuable, as they feature tush tags written in two languages: French and English.
Another rare production run included bats with an extra leg. With these rarities, your '90s Batty doll could bring you home over $120,000.
Scoop the pelican boasts a beak bigger than any other Beanie Baby, making him a rare catch. Not only that, but the slate-covered fabric of his body was only used to make two other dolls. First on the market in 1997, multiple production runs of Scoop featured notable errors.
If your doll's in excellent condition, he'll always be worth the salary-worthy sum of around $50,000, but some dolls contain up to eight errors and are worth up to $100,000.
Jolly's ironic name does nothing to distract from his charm, as this adorable 1997 walrus routinely fetches up to $75,000 at auction. That sum won't turn his smile upside down, but it sure could help yours. Jolly is a rare find because he was only produced for a year, so while he might not have been popular in his heyday, he's now one of the most expensive beanie babies around.
Released in June 1996, Sparky was in production for less than a year. This adorable Dalmatian pup has a poem on his tag with a multitude of variations, so be on the lookout. "Often gets stepped on crying yelp!" is one variety, while "Step on him, and he'll let out a yelp!" is another.
Find one of these rather morbid rarities, and you could earn up to $50k.
Lips the Fish was all the rage in 1999, and today, you can bring her home for around $5,000—one of the more affordable options on this list. The rarest error to seek out with this one is a tag with two extra spaces. Since she was only available for a few months during her original run, her rarity is what drives up the cost.
This political pair includes both Lefty the Donkey and Righty the Elephant covered in festive red and blue stars. Both were released in 2000, but the amount of their worth varies widely. One man got his pair signed by Hilary Clinton, driving their value up to a whopping $50,000.
As one of the rarest varieties out there, their value is only expected to rise.
This rare tie-dyed stegosaurus hit the market in June 1995 and was retired only a year later. A hard-to-find gem that is frequently counterfeited, the genuine article is always green and yellow with a 1995 copyright. He was part of a dinosaur trio that is highly sought after, reaching prices of up to $40,000.
Valued at approximately $760, the Coral Casino Beanie Baby stands as a testament to exclusivity. Released for a special event at the Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club, only 588 of these were ever made. Its rarity is accentuated by its unique design, capturing the essence of the luxurious event it was made for. Collectors often seek it out, not just for its limited availability, but for the story it tells — a tale of luxury, exclusivity, and a time when Beanie Babies were the epitome of collectible treasures.
With a staggering value of around $5,000, the Billionaire Bear is the embodiment of luxury in the Beanie Baby world. This plush toy, adorned with a shimmering emblem, was never available for sale. Instead, it was given exclusively to Ty employees, making it one of the rarest Beanie Babies in existence. Its name, combined with its exclusivity, has made it a sought-after piece for the most elite collectors. Owning a Billionaire Bear is not just about having a toy; it's about possessing a piece of Beanie Baby history.
Priced at nearly $1,000, the Hong Kong Bear is a vibrant celebration of international appeal. Exclusively crafted for the Hong Kong Toy Fair, its design and colors pay tribute to the bustling city it represents. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, its value lies in its limited release, making it a rare find. For collectors, the Hong Kong Bear isn't just a toy; it's a symbol of the global reach and impact of the Beanie Baby phenomenon.
The aptly named "#1 Bear" carries a value of around $3,500. Its prestige isn't just in its name but also in its unique design and emblem. Representing the best in the Beanie Baby collection, it stands out as a symbol of excellence. Collectors often vie for this piece, not just for its design but for the status it represents. In the world of Beanie Babies, owning a "#1 Bear" is akin to having a crown jewel in one's collection.
This charming bunny trio, each valued between $5 to $30, brings joy to many collectors. While they might not be the rarest or the most expensive, their collective value lies in their complementary designs and colors. Green Hippity, pink Hoppity, and lavender Floppity together represent a complete set, making them more valuable as a trio. For many, these bunnies are a trip down memory lane, reminding them of the simpler joys of the '90s.