Ty Beanie Baby Prototypes
Photo by Phyllis Miceli
The normal Ty production cycle incorporates the use of prototypes that are created in various colors, shapes, and fabrics, to include possible names and even accessories like ribbons, hats, patches, etc. Ty then uses the prototypes along with recommendations from his employees and friends to decide on the final product. The process can sometimes take years, but the normal concept-to-development cycle is probably four to eight months.
Sometimes a prototype design doesn't make it to final production for various reasons. A competitor could come out with a similar design first; Ty could be denied the Trademark for the name; or more attractive designs could take priority.
Prototypes are the ultimate Ty collectible because each one is unique. A collector lucky enough to acquire a Ty Beanie Baby prototype has a one-of-a-kind Beanie. As you might well imagine, Beanie Baby prototypes can take a major chunk out of your wallet. In 2011, Ty prototypes listed at eBay were selling in a range from $500 to $7,000 each.
Prototypes are rarely sold at eBay, and pictures of them are few and far between. Sales between private collectors are virtually impossible to track. Thanks to the generosity of a few collectors who specialize in prototypes, we are able to post photographs of several prototypes that have sold at eBay or exist in private collections.