1997 called, and it may be looking to buy your Beanie Babies. Although the secondary market for the beloved plush toys is far from its stratospheric peak over 20 years ago, many sellers still make a comfortable payday from their old collections.
Before you go racing up to your mom’s attic to start liquidating your family collection of Ty plushes, there are a few essential things to understand. Information and preparation can go a long way, and you need to know how to get the best value and where to sell your Beanie Babies.
Can You Still Make Money Selling Beanie Babies
It has been a generation since the big Beanie Baby bubble burst back in the late 90s. In what many have called one of the first true internet sensations, the mania that once surrounded these toys seems unfathomable today.
In a modern tulip mania, perceived values of particularly rare and unique Beanie Babies exploded. Some reached appraisal values high into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then, however, as many can well remember, the market collapsed, leaving many fans and erstwhile Beanie Baby investors holding the bean bag.
Today’s typical sale values for these collectible plushies are nowhere near the insane highs of that era, but you can still make money selling Beanie Babies.
The secondary market for Beanie Babies has bounced back in the last few years. Whether this is owing to nostalgia, scarcity due to dwindling supply, or a new generation discovering a love for these collectible toys is unclear.
One clear thing is that if you have a collection of old Beanie Babies sitting around, there may be a sizable sum of money in it for you.
Tips for Getting the Best Deals on Your Beanie Babies
The market for buying and selling Beanie Babies has shown some renewed signs of life in the last couple of years, but that doesn’t mean anyone can step in and immediately make a fortune.
There are a few essential things to know to help you find the best deal on each stuffed animal before you sell it.
The original nine Beanie Babies launched in the early days of widespread internet adoption. Many moved to the internet for buying, trading, and appraising their toys, but options at the time were quite limited.
Nearly 30 years later, the landscape has significantly changed. Sellers today have a bounty of online marketplaces from which to choose. This variety benefits both buyers and sellers in finding the perfect deal. So make sure to take advantage of being a 21st-century Beanie Baby dealer by shopping around and checking out the various places where you can sell your Beanie Babies.
Know What to Look For
There’s more to the value of your Beanie than its name or what some appraisal guide tells you. Like any other collectible, the rarity and condition of what you’re selling matter extensively. The Beanies that sell best have clean, mint-condition bodies and tags.
An untarnished Ty tag is of particular significance to the Beanie Baby marketplace. Creased hang tags will significantly hamper resale values.
There are also various manufacturing imperfections, oddities, and production differences that can make a difference. For example, misspelled text on tags may add to the rarity of your Beanie and, thus, its value.
Similarly, the eponymous beans in your Beanie Baby can also affect its value. Most Beanie Babies have a filling of polyvinyl ethylene “beans.” Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) beans are much less common and can fetch a higher price. The tag should tell you which type of beans your Baby has.
Don’t Get Attached to Unreasonable Valuations
One thing that the current Beanie Baby market of today has in common with the original frenzy is media outlets and shady appraisers promising baffling resale values.
While the term “clickbait” had not yet entered the cultural dialogue in the mid-90s, the presence of absurd claims in the media to gather immediate attention was well-established. Today, numerous clickbait articles list out the most valuable Beanies. Some promise that you can make tens of thousands of dollars from selling a single stuffed animal, so long as you have the right one.
However, the actual trading economy of these little treasures tells a different story. Today, most of these toys will sell for under $20, though some reach closer to $100.
These values are nothing to sneeze at, particularly with a large enough sales volume. However, avoid getting too attached to an appraisal guide that tells you your rarest Beanie should be worth five or six figures. Two to three figures is still a great price on a toy that hasn’t seen the light of day since the Clinton administration.
7 Places to Sell Your Beanie Babies
BBnovelties is an online marketplace that buys and sells collectible toys, games, trading cards, and more. They have a dedicated area of their site specifically for Beanie Babies, Ty Beanie Boos, and many Ty products.
As BBNovelties operates as a facilitating party between buyers and sellers, you can count on them to have accurate appraisals on trade-in values. At the same time, as with all resellers, you may forsake a small chunk of your profits by not selling directly to a collector.
eBay is the original online mega-marketplace for anyone to sell anything to anyone. So when buying and selling rare, collectible, or out-of-production goods, it is always worth checking here as one of your first stops.
With one of the largest audiences on this list, the online auction site helps you cast a wide net in searching for your ideal buyers and prices online. Likewise, if you want to buy more Beanie Babies to continue selling, this might be one of your best places to find deals.
To those less familiar with Etsy, it is common to assume that its various shops deal primarily in art, handmade crafts, and bespoke goods. However, experienced Etsy shoppers will know that it is also one of the largest platforms for selling rare, collectible, and vintage goods.
If you have an extensive inventory of Beanies to sell, consider starting an Etsy shop where you can set your prices and find suitable buyers. Moving your entire collection this way may take a little more time, but the payout could prove worthwhile.
One convenient feature of Bonanza is that they offer seamless integration with product listings from other marketplaces such as eBay, Etsy, and Amazon. So if you already have listings on one of those sites, importing them into Bonanza is a quick, easy way to diversify your options.
5. Ruby Lane
Ruby Lane is an online store that specializes in quality vintage goods. Though children of the 80s and 90s may be reluctant to admit it, the cherished Ty Warner creations now fit that bill.
Many of the stuffed toys sell in the range of $30-50 each on Ruby Lane, with some reaching prices as high as $75. The patina of an antique plush toy and a discerning audience might make Ruby Lane a great place to get the best value for your Ty Beanie Baby collection.
6. Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace
There are also a few options if you want to sell Beanie Babies near you. For local sales, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are always two good places to start. Here you can find interested buyers to negotiate rates, meet up in person and make authenticated deals.
Going local this way may narrow your potential audience, but it can also help to fend off potential scams and find legitimately interested parties in your area.
7. Local Hobby Shops and Collectibles Stores
These may not be as common as they once were, but many areas still house buy-and-trade stores for memorabilia and collectibles. Your best bet for finding one of these is to check local mall directories and town centers.
Brick-and-mortar retail offers several benefits over selling things online, including professional appraisal, reputable buyers, and a human touch. However, like with other resellers above, you risk a middle party taking a bite out of your profits.
Kicking Off Your Beanie Baby Side-Hustle
Unfortunately, you’re not very likely to strike it rich these days by selling that one Princess Diana Bear or Patti the Platypus for a fortune. However, there is still good money for those who know where and how to sell the largely discontinued soft toys.
If you or your loved ones have old collections of the once-fanaticized stuffed animals lying around, you could be sitting on a viable way to make money online. Most likely, you won’t come out of it a billionaire, but some of the most valuable Ty Beanie Babies offer a payday that’s nothing to sneeze at. So head to your garage, attic, or basement, dust off those old bins, and go find out what you could be making!
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Sam is the founder of the personal finance and self-improvement blog Smarter and Harder. His mission is to start exciting new conversations that empower people to improve their work, lives, and money, and hopefully have a fantastic time doing it. In all things, he strives to lead with positivity, understanding, and more than a bit of enthusiasm.