New and used
Ty collectibles are available from numerous retail and secondary market sources. A conscientious
collector will find widely varying prices for the same item, so it pays to shop around. It also pays to
be patient. Don't pay an inflated price to pre-order a newly announced Ty product unless you know for
sure quantities will be limited.
Most newly released Boos or Beanies are usually available on eBay for less than suggested retail price within
30-45 days of being announced. The price for a new Boo or Beanie in a retail store like Hallmark or Walgreens
may be higher than online prices at eBay or other online outlets, but you shouldn't forget the postage
factor. Do the math in advance to make the smartest purchase.
Lets say a new Beanie Boo shows up at Walgreens for $5.99. That means your actual cost will be $5.99 plus sales
tax, plus the cost of gas to and from the store. In this example we'll estimate 60 cents for 10% sales tax
and $2.00 for gas. That totals $8.59 for the Beanie. You might find the same Beanie at eBay for $4.99, but when you add $4.50
or more for postage and handling, the eBay Beanie ends up costing more than the
same Beanie at Walgreens.
The store cost factor decreases if your store offers a discount for buying more than one
Beanie, much the
same way a good seller at eBay reduces shipping costs for multiple purchases on one invoice. That's why it pays to do a cost
comparison in advance. Another obvious advantage of buying in a retail store is
that you get to hand-pick your
Boo or Beanie.
Over the years, we've purchased Ty collectibles from many different sources.
- There are several authorized Ty retailers in our town (Fayetteville, NC). We sometimes purchase
from them if we need a Ty collectible quickly for a gift or photograph; or when
a store similar to Claire's or Justice stocks an exclusive new Ty collectible not
available from our preferred retailer. Ty products are showing up in numerous
local stores like Claire's, Justice, Cracker Barrel, Walgreens,
Barnes & Noble,
Party City, Hobby Lobby, Michael's, Five Below, and even (in North Carolina) Carlie
C's Supermarkets (just to name a few).
- We frequently buy items from the
Ty online store.
The prices are generally the same or lower than prices charged in retail stores
or on eBay, and the shipping charges are reasonable. At various times the Ty
online store features free shipping.
- Closeout merchandise stores like Tuesday Morning. We found several retired Beanie
Babies and Buddies at some of the Tuesday Morning stores a few years ago. One store even had some of the
retired Walgreens exclusive Beanie Babies.
- Domestic and foreign retail chains sometimes carry exclusive Ty collectibles.
Some examples are Walgreens, Claire's, Justice, Cracker Barrel and Barnes &
Noble. There are also zoos and aquariums that sometimes offer exclusives made by
Ty. In the past there have been exclusives from Hallmark, Midwest Airlines, Northwestern Mutual, Ty trade shows,
Kentucky Derby stores, the U.S. Open tennis store, Mastercharge, 4-H and many more. You can
almost always find these exclusives on the secondary market, but most were available at
lower cost directly from the original seller when they first came out.
- More than 80% of our Ty collection came from eBay. For better or worse, eBay currently hosts the largest selection of Ty
collectibles available for auction or sale. That doesn't make eBay the best, it just makes
eBay the largest source. We have a separate section with suggestions and warnings for shopping on eBay.
- We tend to avoid specialty online stores that sell retired Ty products because most of
them (in our opinion) charge unreasonably high prices. We have occasionally bought from an
online retailer like bbtoystore.com, but only because we couldn't find the Ty
collectible we needed
anywhere else. Selection and service at these types of online stores is generally good, but
that doesn't seem to justify their high prices.
- Serious collectors interface. You can always find other Ty collectors on Facebook, online bulletin boards or
other online social networks. Many of them have Ty collectibles to sell or trade. Several of our most
prized beanies came from Ty collectors we met at Facebook or other social sites.
- We frequently see or hear of Beanie Babies for sale in thrift shops, but haven't had any luck
finding older Beanies we still need in our collection in any thrift shop. There is the occasional story though
of someone finding a rare beanie in a thrift shop. You increase your chances of finding good
deals in thrift shops if you arrange with someone who works there to contact you whenever a batch of beanies arrives.
- We've purchased several Ty collectibles through online bulletin board sites
but we know whenever we do, it's a calculated risk. Many sellers who advertise on bulletin
board sites or Facebook will not accept credit cards or PayPal payments. If you pay with a check or money
order, you risk losing your money to a dishonest seller. Remember, ANYONE can post on those sites.
You won't know if they're honest until after you've dealt with them. It is much the same
at eBay, but at least eBay (in conjunction with PayPal) provides some protection against being
stiffed by a dishonest seller.
- Every once in a while we make the yard sale circuit in search of good deals but lately we've
cut back shopping this way. For some reason we always end up buying lots of other items even
though the only reason we went was to check for beanies. That doesn't mean you can't find good
deals on beanies at yard sales. Call in advance to see if beanies are available.
Gas is too expensive now for collectors to be driving around town randomly searching for beanies
hiding at yard sales.
- We stay away from the flea markets in our area. They are too commercialized and
the chances of finding that rare beanie at a fantastic price are slim to none. Nowadays people
who sell at flea markets generally know the value of their items, so you're not likely to find
a royal blue Peanut for five dollars at a flea market. If you do, it is probably counterfeit. Yes, the world is full of
- If you have a little spare time and a few extra dollars, newspaper ads can be an entertaining albeit frustrating way to
find Ty collectibles. Advertise the amount you are willing to pay for beanies in "like new (no odor)" condition with
and/or without swing tags. You may get zero inquiries, but you may also get that rare caller who is cleaning house and
offers up their whole collection for free if you can pick it up yourself by noon tomorrow. Considering
the low cost of a newspaper ad, it is certainly worth a few tries if you're a "serious" collector.
- Don't forget to tell all of your friends and relatives to be on the lookout for wayward beanies. Even if they don't
find any unique sources, they might get the hint you wouldn't mind Boos or Beanies as presents for your birthday, Valentine's Day