Synopsis of Toy
It all started with a Cubbie, Legs, Pinchers, Spot, Chocolate, Flash, Patti, Splash and Squealer. Once this notorious nine gained popularity, hundreds of followers joined to create the biggest toy phenomenon since Cabbage Patch Kids. Ty’s Beanie Babies settled onto the scene back in 1993 when toy inventor Ty Warner created soft, understuffed animal beanbags, simply known as Beanie Babies. Kids loved the little creatures because they were small, inexpensive, and soooo darn cute. But it would be another three years before Beanie Babies created national hysteria.
At first, Beanie Babies were just another cute toy that tickled the fancy of young tykes, but when Ty decided to ‘retire’ the original gang in 1996, adults scrambled to collect them before they were gone. Suddenly the discontinued toys were highly sought-after collector’s items, which coerced Ty into releasing more and more Beanie Babies to capitalize on the overnight popularity. But like all shrewd businesspersons, Ty doled out the animals in limited quantity, and created a scarcity by retiring animals before the market was saturated.
Suddenly Beanie babies were sought after like gold, and new animals were being released at rapid rates to fan the flames of desire. Collectors hoarded the animals, creating a vast market of limited supply and high demand. The Beanie Babies lure went beyond children, and adults shamelessly pushed the little ones out of the way in order to get the last Quackers on the shelf. Both kids and adults made it their life’s goal to complete the set, and collect what is now over 300 individual characters.
What is so different about the Beanie Babies? They differ from most stuffed animals because of their beanbag-like innards. They’re small, soft and squishy because unlike foam or a hard packed stuffing, Beanies are under-filled with plastic pellets much like the 70’s style bean bag chairs that were a big hit with the kids of yesteryear (the adults who now hoard the Beanies). It’s not hard to believe that something sooooo cute could become an obsession.
There are several styles of animals, but each new release differs in color, fabric, accessories and name. The classic Ty Teddy comes in purple, pink polka dotted, iridescent blue, rainbow striped and even emblazoned with a British flag, and each has its own name. And there are just as many variations of spiders, pelicans, sharks, monkeys, etc. Any animal you can see, or can’t (Pegasus and unicorn) comes to you via Ty.
Authentic Ty Beanies are carefully controlled, and conscientiously priced at the affordable $5-$7 range, regardless of future rarity. But there are unscrupulous suppliers that keep the Beanies and charge exorbitant prices in hopes of gaining financially—Ty discourages this type of business and insists that you should never pay more than the suggested price (around the average weekly allowance). But obsession does crazy things to people—the Ty #1 Bear now goes for over $8000 out on the collector’s market (and no, we didn’t accidentally put in an extra zero—yes, that’s $8000).
Beanie Babies expanded into Teenie Beanies, the ultra tiny toys that look like little brothers and sisters to the big Babies, as well as the more traditional stuffed animal style Beanie Buddies, and the doll-like Beanie Kids. And remember, if you plan on collecting, keep that tag on, and put it in the special Beanie Babies display case.
Release History of Toy1993 - Beanie Babies
1997 - Teenie Beanies
1998 - Beanie Buddies
2000 - Beanie Kids