Beanie Baby boom really shines

For the past several years, Beanie Babies have set the doll collector’s world on its ear. Despite having no intrinsic value — and slightly irritating names — these unremarkable beanbag playthings command huge sums on the collectibles market.

Why are they such hot tickets? Ty Toys, makers of Beanie Babies, have created a perceived value for these toys. Periodically, the company releases a new toy, creating a flurry of buying activity. As well, when the company decides to retire a toy, its demand and price skyrocket. Buyers will pay hundreds of dollars for a retired, mint condition Beanie Baby.

Judging by the prices, it’s obviously not kids who are buying Beanies. In fact, don’t bother looking in children’s playrooms for these things. Most parents won’t let the little ones anywhere near these valuable items — any sign of wear can dramatically reduce the Beanie Babies resale value

Here are some facts on the fad:

  • The official Beanie Babies web site, has received over 2 billion hits.

  • There are over 350 web sites that buy, sell or trade new and used Beanie Babies. P>
  • There is one Canadian Beanie Baby web site,

  • Ty Toys has released over 200 Beanie Babies, from Ally the Alligator Cat to Zip the Black Cat.

  • Recently released Beanie Babies include Lips the Fish, Flitter the Butterfly and The Birthday Bear.

  • The most popular Beanie Babies are bears representing different countries.

  • Maple, The Canadian Bear, is worth up to $174.95 (U.S.) on the Beanie market. His unpopular cousin, Loosy, The Canadian Goose, only fetches $7.

  • Britannia The British Bear is in high demand — often listed at over $450. (U.S). Britannia looks very like Germania, The German Bear, but comes with a different hat and flag.

  • Teenie Weenie Babies, Attic Toys and Beanie Buddies are offshoots of Beanie Babies and are all official Ty Products.

  • Ty Toys vigilantly distances its product from the many Beanie imitators on the market.

  • Beanie Babies garnering the highest resale prices are those untouched by children.

  • Second-hand Beanie buyers will only purchase a toy from a non-smoking household.

  • Beanie Babies United, a British web site, has a gossip column advising speculators on soon-to-be retired and soon-to-be released Beanie Babies.