January 3rd, 2021


beanie babies

Gosh darn it I love internet debates. I got into one on facebook in a group post asking us what to do with a relative's extensive beanie baby collection... a woman was given multiple trash bags FULL of beanie babies, with tag protectors still on, never played with just collected.

Most commenters said she should donate them. Maybe to a children's home, or ask if the police or a hospital want them for emergency pickups, they can comfort a kid right? That's nice.

But some others said they must take this exciting collection to be appraised because these can be worth a TON OF MONEY, they sell for thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars! This is a favorite urban legend of mine, probably because I was raising my eyebrows at beanie baby craziness when I was like 13. I feel like I knew even then that the fad wasn't worth waiting in line for, and it's still not.

Anyway it was just internet comments so I let it go.

HA HA NO I DIDN'T you guys know me, I went to ebay and sorted by auctions to see what they were really going for. Most popular price: not selling at all. If you sort beanie baby auctions by "ending soon" all you do is scroll through pages and pages of listings with zero bids. That's sad.

So I went to my computer for an advanced search to see the real story, because this is oddly fascinating to me and I don't have much else going on.

Here is the 2021 value of beanie babies, by the numbers:

Total beanie baby listings on ebay: 193,755
Total listed for auction: 25,922
Total auctions that have ANYONE bidding on them: 346
Total auctions that have NOBODY bidding on them: 25,576

Listings with two or more bids: 96
Listings with bids over $10: 50
Listings with bids over $100: 5

Highest priced: $585 for a snake named hissy that apparently has some weird color and a printing error on the tag. I could not for the life of me tell the difference at all between the one going for $585 and the seemingly identical ones going for $5, with the same weird color and the same space on the tag.

Beanie babies with a confirmed bid price "in the thousands": 0

The extremely rare "Princess Diana" purple beanie baby is a famous one. There are 6000 of them listed. Asking prices ranging from $3 to $970,000 - but these are not selling prices. People are willing to pay up to $50 if it's got some weird PVC pellets or was made in Indonesia instead of china or whatever, I haven't figured it out, but the vast majority aren't selling at all.

To conclude this adventure, I guess if you've got 500 beanie babies taking up space in your attic, there might be one in there worth more than $10.

But it costs $0.35 to list something on ebay. So if you list all 500 of them, you're out $175.