Beanie Babies

(Redirected from Beanie Baby)

Beanie Babies are a line of stuffed toys created by American businessman H. Ty Warner, who founded Ty Inc. in 1986. The toys are stuffed with plastic pellets ("beans") rather than conventional soft stuffing. They come in many different forms, mostly animals.

Beanie Babies
Beanie Babies Logo.jpg
TypeStuffed toy
Inventor(s)Ty Warner
CompanyTy Inc.[1]
CountryUnited States
MaterialsSynthetic plush, polyvinyl chloride, polyester fiber

Created in 1993, Beanie Babies emerged as a major fad and collectible during the second half of the 1990s.[2][3] They have been cited as being the world's first Internet sensation in 1995.[4] They were collected not only as toys, but also as a financial investment, owing to the high resale value of particular ones.[5][6][7]


Beanie Babies were first introduced in 1993 by Ty Warner at the World Toy Fair in New York City, New York.[8] It was not until 1994 that the toys were put into factory production, first being sold in local stores located in Chicago, Illinois, for around $5 U.S. Dollars. There were nine original Beanie Babies, which includes: Legs the Frog, Squealer the Pig, Spot the Dog, Flash the Dolphin, Splash the Whale, Chocolate the Moose, Patti the Platypus, Brownie the Bear (later renamed "Cubbie"), and Pinchers the Lobster (with some tag errors labeled "Punchers").[9][10] Since 1994, Beanie Babies cannot be found in larger chain stores, as they continue to only be found in small, specialty stores, such as gift stores and small toy stores. [11][12]

At first, sales were relatively slow, in that by 1995 many retailers refused to buy the bundles the toys were offered in, while some retailers refused to buy them entirely.[13] Yet, around the same time, Ty Warner made the decision to restrict the amount of Beanie Babies that are produced and distributed by the company. This was done in two ways, the first way by limiting the amount of Beanies Babies a store could buy per month, which was 36 of each character.[12] The second way was by "retiring" the characters after a certain period of time, meaning that production of those specific characters would then cease, while eventually new characters would be introduced.[8] As this created an idea of scarcity surrounding the toys, it in turn led to a significant increase in sales and started the trend of people collecting and reselling Beanie Babies. [14] Their popularity soon grew into a national craze in the US.[13]

In 1996, Ty Inc. released a new product called Teenie Beanies, a miniature cutoff of the original Beanie Babies line. They were sold alongside McDonald's Happy Meals to celebrate that product's 17th anniversary. They also partnered with other companies.[15]

Ty, Inc. stopped producing the product in December 1999, but consumer demand led them to reconsider.[15] Production restarted in 2000 with a Beanie Baby named "The Beginning".

In early 2008, Ty released a new version of Beanie Babies called Beanie Babies 2.0. The purchase of a Beanie Baby 2.0 provided its owner with a code to access an online Beanie Babies interactive website. The website has since been shut down.


Beanie Babies are deliberately under-stuffed. This led to a criticism that the toys looked "cheap";[16] however, this set them apart from most stuffed animals on the market which could not be posed easily.[16] Ty Warner has said that this understuffing method made the toys look "real".[16]

Another important design element is the tag. Since the beginning, Beanie Babies have included two tags for identification: a heart-shaped "swing tag" at the top, and a fabric "tush tag" at the bottom. Both tags have been redesigned completely over time. Between 1994 and 1996, the swing tags had "To" and "From" blanks in them for use as gifts. Starting in early 1996, the tags include four-line poems related to the Beanie Baby, and a date of birth for the toy. The poem and birthday concept was created by Lina Trivedi who is credited as authoring the poems on the first 136 Beanie Babies that were introduced to the marketplace.[17][18][4]

It was not uncommon for Beanie Babies to be accidentally shipped out with incorrect or misspelled tags, which sometimes increased the toy's value. On occasion, the poems, birth dates and even the names have been changed on certain Beanie Babies.[19]


Early on, Ty had trouble finding retailers to order Beanie Babies. To get small retailers to stock the product, Ty introduced Beanie Babies at the 1993 Toy Fair in New York City. This event helped garner attention for the set of plush toys. In 1994 small local stores in Chicago, Illinois, began selling Beanie Babies for around $5 U.S. Dollars.[20]

Early in 1995, Ty created the first iteration of the Ty Web site, the first business to consumer website designed to sell products to consumers directly. To go along with the launch of the Ty website in 1995, all Beanie Baby hangtags were printed with the Ty website URL and a new piece of text was added with the company's name and the following message: "Visit our website! ! !" As a result, many consumers visited Ty's website for more information on Beanie Babies. This endeavor would mark the beginning of the Beanie Babies Boom. [20]

Later in 1995, Ty was forced to end production on the popular toy Lovie the Lamb, owing to an issue with suppliers in China. CEO Ty Warner came up with the solution to tell retailers that Lovie was merely discontinued, and even suggested that many other Beanie Babies would be discontinued as well. This news would spread via word of mouth, as motivated sellers began to stock up on Ty plush toys while they still could, thus creating a new demand for Beanie Babies. As a result of this artificial demand, consumers began buying Beanie Babies in bulk from the Ty Web site to relist them on auction sites for highly inflated prices. [21]


Beanie Babies began to emerge as popular collectibles in late 1995, and became a hot toy.[22] The company's strategy of deliberate scarcity, producing each new design in limited quantity, restricting individual store shipments to limited numbers of each design and regularly retiring designs, created a huge secondary market for the toys and increased their popularity and value as a collectible.[15]

They systematically retired various designs, and many people assumed that all "retired" designs would rise in value the way that early retirees had. The craze lasted through 1999 and slowly declined after the Ty company announced that they would no longer be making Beanie Babies and made a bear called "The End".[23] Some time after the original announcement that the company would stop production, Ty asked the public to vote on whether the product should continue; fans and collectors voted "overwhelmingly" to keep the toys on the market.[15]

At its height of popularity people would flip Beanies for as much as ten-fold on eBay.[24] Indeed, at the height, Beanies made up 10% of eBay's sales.[25] Some collectors insured their purchases for thousands of dollars.[24]

Following are key factors that contributed to the collectible nature of Beanie Babies:

  • Unique creative elements – each product contained a unique birthday and poem that was printed on the tag of every Beanie Baby
  • Supply/demand – Scarce availability fell short of the product demand
  • Availability – Beanie Babies were initially only sold in individually-owned small gift and specialty shops
  • New releases / retirements – Several times a year, Beanie Babies would retire and the production of those characters would cease, to make room for new designs[4]

Warner was keenly aware that the Beanie Babies bubble could burst and eventually started requiring retailers who sold Beanies to also stock other product lines by his company if they wished to continue selling Beanies. None of these lines did as well as Beanie Babies, although they kept the company alive after the fad ended, and eventually some became successful in their own right.[24]


Ty, Inc. was the first business to produce a business to consumer website designed to engage their market. This is a major contributing factor to the early and rapidly growing popularity of Beanie Babies. By the time the first iteration of the Ty Web site was published in late 1995 by Lina Trivedi,[4] only 14% of Americans were using the Internet.[26] In tandem with the launch of the Ty Website in 1995, all Beanie Baby hangtags had the Ty Website URL and a call to action printed underneath the poems and birthdays that commanded audiences to visit the company website with text that read: Visit our web page!!! As a result, hordes of consumers were visiting the Ty website to gain information about Beanie Babies which was unprecedented. Ty is the first business to leverage their website to connect and engage with consumers of their products. This effort evolved into the world's first Internet sensation.[4]

Princess bearEdit

Diana, Princess of Wales died in August 1997. Warner announced a purple Beanie Baby bear named "Princess" in October 1997 in honor of Princess Diana.[27]

Counterfeit Beanie BabiesEdit

Counterfeit Beanie Babies began to surface in 1997. Early on, cheap knock-offs and fakes of common Beanies were widely available at discount prices.[28]


Authorities cracked down on counterfeit Beanie Babies in the late 1990s. People were prosecuted for their involvement in the commerce of counterfeit Beanies. In 1998, UK authorities seized more than 6,000 counterfeit Princesses and Britannias.[29] In 1999, a Minnesota man was imprisoned, fined, and put on probation for involvement in smuggling counterfeit Beanies.[30]


During the wake of Beanie Babies' success, Beanie Baby-centric publications were issued. One of the largest was Mary Beth's Bean Bag World, a monthly magazine dedicated to Beanie Babies and competing plush toys. It ran from 1997 to 2001.[31]

A documentary film about Beanie Babies, titled Beanie Mania, was released on December 23, 2021, on HBO Max.[32]

Licensed BeaniesEdit

In the late 2000s, Beanie Babies modeled after characters from popular children's franchises by Nickelodeon, DreamWorks and Paramount began appearing. These included characters from cartoons on the Nickelodeon television channel such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Blue's Clues and The Backyardigans, as well as characters from DreamWorks Animation movies such as Shrek the Third, and 20th Century Fox's Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Beanie Babies have been produced for characters from Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole and Guardians of Ga'Hoole book series, Scooby-Doo, Hello Kitty, and Peanuts. Recently Beanie Babies modeled after Disney characters have been created, including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, and Olaf from Frozen. In addition, they have produced toys based on characters from the Disney Junior TV series Doc McStuffins, Pixar films like Cars and Finding Dory, and Marvel Comics superheroes. They have recently partnered with Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, and Hasbro for characters from franchises such as Despicable Me, Sing, My Little Pony, and The Emoji Movie. Beanie Babies have expanded their Nickelodeon lineup with characters from PAW Patrol, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Peppa Pig.

In pop cultureEdit

In 2021, Beanie Babies was the season 1, episode 4 feature on Vice Media's Dark Side of the 90's entitled "Beanie Babies Go Bust".[33]

In recent newsEdit

In April 2020, H. Ty Warner pledged that 100% of profits from the sale of a limited edition Beanie Baby bear named "Hope" were to be donated to the United Way Worldwide COVID-19 Fund. On March 2, 2022, Warner declared all profits from the sales of Beanie Babies during the month of March would be donated to Save the Children, an organization providing emergency assistance to those in Ukraine.[34]

Warner has donated over $300 million to various charities since the start of the company. Most recently, 100% of profits from a newly released "Max" the dog Beanie Baby will be donated to NEXT for Autism.[35]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Halbfinger, David M. (1999-03-12). "On the Trail of a Beanie Burglar". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2016-11-19.
  2. ^ Chupka, Kevin. "Beanie Babies: Whatever happened to Millennials' favorite toy?". Yahoo! Finance. Yahoo!. Archived from the original on 9 June 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  3. ^ Jacob Osborn, Peter Richman (5 December 2022). "Top holiday toys from the year you were born". Top holiday toys from the year you were born. Retrieved 13 December 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e Bissonnette, Zac (March 2015). "The $12-per-hour Sociology Major Who Made Ty Warner a Billionaire". The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute. Penguin Books. pp. 107–121. ISBN 978-1591846024.
  5. ^ "Is your Beanie Baby collection actually worth a lot of money now?". Today. 9 November 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  6. ^ Stern, Mark (3 February 2015). "Why did people lose their minds over Beanie Babies?". Slate. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  7. ^ Winograd, David (25 July 2013). "Family Spent $100,000 On Beanie Babies Thinking 'Investment' Would Put Kids Through College". Huffington Post. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  8. ^ a b "The Insane History of Beanie Babies". Retrieved 2022-05-03.
  9. ^ Carr, Amy (August 14, 1997). "Those Beanies are still hot, and there's no sign of the frenzy slowing down". Daily Herald. Punchers the red lobster. Originally introduced in 1993 at a toy fair, Punchers was redesigned in 1994 and renamed Pinchers.
  10. ^ The Perfect Store: Inside eBay via Google Books
  11. ^ Cox, Hank (March 13, 2015). "How tiny animals stuffed with beans became a global craze". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 2, 2022.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ a b "History of Ty Inc". FundingUniverse. Retrieved 2022-05-03.
  13. ^ a b Bissonnette, Zach. "How A Blue Elephant Named Peanut Sparked The Beanie Baby Craze". Buzzfeed. Archived from the original on 5 February 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  14. ^ Mannix, Margaret, Egan, Jack, Atlas, Stacy, Tharp, Mike (August 5, 1998). "Beanie bubble". U.S. News & World Report.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ a b c d Smith, Bryan (May 2014). "Behind the Beanie Babies: The Secret Life of Ty Warner". Chicago Magazine. Archived from the original on April 25, 2014. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
  16. ^ a b c Symington, Steve (7 June 2015). "3 Business Lessons From Ty Warner, the Beanie Babies Billionaire". Motleyfool. Archived from the original on 13 March 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  17. ^ Wolkoff, Melanie (December 2000). "The Girl With The Midas Touch, What Lina Trivedi Touches Turns to Gold – Just Ask Ty Warner". Mary Beth's Bean Bag World. H&S Media Incorporated. 4 (3): 56–59. ISSN 1520-7005.
  18. ^ Van West, Patricia E. (September 1999). "Lina Trivedi – The First Beanie Poet & Webmaster". Becky and Becky's Beanie Mania. Beanie Mania LLC. 2 (1): 42–43. ISSN 1099-4874.
  19. ^ Dunne, Claudia; Sara Nelson (September 1998). "Tag Training 101". Mary Beth's Bean Bag World. H&S Media Incorporated. 1 (7): 20–28. ISSN 1097-0444.
  20. ^ a b Hirsch, Joni (1996-07-01). "The Man Behind the Beanie Babies Boom". People Magazine.
  21. ^ "Beanie Baby Collection". Bowling Green State University. Retrieved 2022-12-13.
  22. ^ Klein, Michael. "Beanie Babies Take Their Place In Must Have Spotlight". Knight-Ridder News Service. Archived from the original on 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
  23. ^ Roe, Andy. "Beanie Babies is the Party Over". Auction Watch. Archived from the original on 2012-03-11. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
  24. ^ a b c Berr, Johnathin. "How the Great Beanie Baby Bubble Went Bust". The Fiscal Times. Archived from the original on 9 February 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  25. ^ VanderMey, Anne (11 March 2015). "Lessons from the great Beanie Babies crash". Fortune. Archived from the original on 13 February 2016.
  26. ^ Pew Research Center (February 27, 2014). "How the Internet Has Woven Itself Into American Life". Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  27. ^ "SUNDAY, JULY 5, 1998: CRIME; A World Gone Beanie Mad!". The New York Times. 1998-07-05. Archived from the original on November 19, 2016.
  28. ^ Dodge, Susan (January 9, 1998). "Counterfeit Beanie Babies showing up here". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2007.
  29. ^ "British authorities seize 6,000 counterfeit Beanie Babies". AP Online. November 20, 1998. Archived from the original on 2012-11-02. Retrieved 2007-09-09.
  30. ^ "Couple sentenced for selling counterfeit Beanie Babies". Star Tribune. August 6, 1999. Archived from the original on 1 September 2017. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  31. ^ "Mary Beth". Beanielad Trading Cards. 10 November 2012. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  32. ^ Squires, Bethy (2021-12-16). "LuLaRich Meets PEN15 in HBO Max's Beanie Mania Trailer". Vulture.
  33. ^ Topel, Fred (August 5, 2021). "Beanie Babies Landed Some People in Jail According to 'Dark Side of the '90s' Episode". Shwobiz Cheat Sheet. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  34. ^ Ty, Inc. "RESPONDING TO UKRAINE CRISIS, TY WARNER DONATES 100% OF PROFITS FROM BEANIE BABIES". PRNewswire (Press release). Retrieved 2022-05-02.
  35. ^ Ty, Inc. "Ty Warner, Creator of Beanie Babies, Releases Limited Edition Dog to Support Autism Community". PRNewswire (Press release). Retrieved 2022-05-02.

External linksEdit