What are Beanie Babies? What’s Beanie Baby’s History?

In this part segment, we plan on covering everything you or anyone wanted or needed to know about beanie babies. From what they are to why they are unique to how they become such a hit, after reading this you will know all there is to beanie babies.

Beanie babies are a stuffed animal made by Ty Inc. Beanie babies are distinguished from regular stuffed animals by two features:

An inner posable lining
Stuffing of plastic pellets instead of conventional stuffing
These two features make the beanie baby unique from normal stuffed animals as well as makes it more flexible so it can easily be posed.

When first released in 1993, there were only 9 original beanie babies:

Legs the Frog
Squealer the Pig
Spot the Dog
Flash the Dolphin
Splash the Whale
Chocolate the Moose
Patti the Platypus
Brownie the Bear (renamed to “Cubbie”)
Pinchers the Lobster*

Pinchers the Lobster was sometimes incorrectly tagged as “Punchers”. This is quite a rare beanie baby, so if you have one and are looking to sell, ensure that you know the value of your beanie before selling.

Design

Beanie babies are identified by 2 tags. The first is a heart shaped tag on the top called a “swing tab”, and the second is a fabric tag on the bottom, called a “tush tag”. The designs of these tags have changed over time. For example in the early days of beanie babies, the swing tags used to include a “To” and “From” fields to be filled in if the beanie was purchased as a gift. After the tags would include a poem as well as the “date of birth” for the toy. Tags were sometimes incorrectly labeled or beanies were occasionally sent out with the wrong or misspelled tags, which may increase the beanies’ value (depending on the beanie baby).

Collecting Beanie Babies

Soon after their release, beanie babies became popular as collectables. In around 1995, beanie baby collecting started to become a huge craze. One of the biggest causes for the collecting craze was due to the fact that Ty would often “retire” beanie babies, ie no longer produce a certain design. The original retired beanie babies were often quite valuable, causing people to purchase un-retired beanie babies in large quantities with the hopes that the they would be “retired” and rise in value, such as the early retirees had.
In 1999, Ty, announced that they would no longer be making beanie babies.

In the next segment, we will talk about how beanie babies rose to fame and how Ty successfully marketed their product to ensure maximum sales and popularity.