For your information Ty Collector






Places to Purchase Beanie Babies
(and other Ty products)

Justice Store, Fayetteville, NC - August 2014

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 beanies are usually available on eBay for less than suggested retail price within 30-45 days of being announced. The price for a new 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 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 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 the chance to hand-pick your beanie.

Over the years, we've purchased Ty collectibles from many different sources.

  • Our preferred authorized retailer for new Ty products is Fabric Friends and Dolls in Gaithersburg, Maryland. We have purchased new Ty collectibles from Fabric Friends and Dolls for years and the service is consistently outstanding. They always manage to keep their prices competitive and shipping charges reasonable. Fabric Friends and Dolls goes "above and beyond" to accommodate Ty collectors.

  • There are several authorized Ty retailers in our town (Fayetteville). We sometimes purchase from them if we need a Ty collectible quickly for a gift or photograph; or when a store similar to Justice or Claire's stocks an exclusive new Ty collectible not available from our preferred retailer. Ty products are showing up in numerous local stores like Justice, Hallmark, Cracker Barrel, Walgreens, Barnes & Noble, Claire's, Old Navy, Hobby Lobby, Five Below, Party City and even (in North Carolina) Carlie C's Supermarkets.

  • 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. In the past there were several Ty store exclusive beanies not available anywhere else. We are always on the lookout for any Ty online exclusives.

  • Closeout merchandise stores like Tuesday Morning. We found several retired Beanie Babies and Buddies at some of the Tuesday Morning stores. One store even had some of the retired Walgreens exclusive Beanie Babies.

  • Domestic and foreign retail chains sometimes carry exclusive Ty collectibles. Examples are the occasional Walgreens exclusive beanies, the Justice Store and Claire's Boos, Borders exclusives, Harrods (UK) exclusives, McDonalds promotions and others. 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 90% 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 beanie 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 on those. 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 counterfeit beanies.

  • 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 beanies as presents for your birthday, Valentine's Day or Christmas.
Justice Stores - Fayetteville, NC - August 2014

 

Last update - August 10, 2014

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