Ty Beanie Babies

Beanie Babies

Ty Warner introduced Beanie Babies in 1993 at the Gatlinburg (Tennessee) Gift Show. Shortly thereafter, they appeared at the World Toy Fair in New York City. These new and unique stuffed animal (plush) toys were soft, cute and small enough for a child (or adult) to carry around in a shirt-pocket, book bag or purse. The original release included nine Beanie Babies. Their names were Cubbie the bear, Chocolate the moose, Flash the dolphin, Legs the frog, Patti the platypus, Pinchers the lobster, Splash the whale, Spot the dog, and Squealer the pig. Prior to the actual release of the "Original Nine" (as they came to be known in 1994) Cubbie had sold as Brownie.

The "Original 9" Beanie Babies
Ty Warner's Original 9 Beanie Babies

Small retail and specialty gift stores began selling Beanie Babies in early 1994. Initial public demand for the new stuffed animals was low until Ty retired a few of them in 1995. The retirements, combined with promotional books, magazines and Internet sites authored by early collectors ignited a worldwide collecting frenzy. At the height of the collecting craze, hordes of collectors were spending upwards of a thousand dollars to acquire a hard-to-find Beanie Baby.

The speculative buying frenzy decreased significantly after 1998, when Ty produced so many Beanie Babies for the worldwide market that retailers had difficulty selling them all. The era of "commons" had begun. Collectors use the term "commons" to denote Beanie Babies that have little or no aftermarket value because so many of them were produced they are unlikely to become rare in the future.

On January 2, 2008, Ty announced the original Beanie Babies would be phased out and replaced by a new Beanie Baby 2.0 version. On April 1, 2008, Ty introduced the first 13 Beanie Baby 2.0 animals: Baabet the lamb, Duchess the poodle, Eggs 2008 the bear, Fluffball the Guinea pig, Hopsy the rabbit, Jumps the frog, Luckier the bear, Pico the chihuahua, Purry the cat, Quackly the duck, Rascal the Bichon Frise dog, Shearsly the lamb, and Woolsy the lamb.

The 2.0 versions came with a secret code that allowed owners to access a special section at Ty's Internet site to play games or chat. Initially, each Beanie Baby in the 2.0 line came with a plastic button showing a lightning bolt and the Ty Internet URL. The button was later discontinued.

For undisclosed reasons, the 2.0 line was officially discontinued as of May 2009. Ty had apparently decided to continue the original Beanie Baby product line after all. Subsequent releases of most of the original 2.0 animals started appearing with the traditional Beanie Baby swing tags and without online codes. The 2.0's made one encore appearance as Teenie Beanie Babies 2.0 for a McDonalds promotion from July 17 through August 13, 2009.

Not counting variations, Ty released 55 different Beanie Baby 2.0's before the line was discontinued. The McDonalds Teenie Beanie Babies 2.0 promotion featured 30 different 2.0's. Eleven of those had not been previously released as regular Beanie Baby 2.0's.

Rise & Fall of the Beanie Baby Gamblers

Has the "Beanie Baby craze" ended? Secondary market values for most Beanie Babies including the rare ones have declined dramatically since 2000.

Not a year goes by where we don't see media articles about "The Rise and Fall of the Beanie Babies." Typically, these articles are written by non-collectors who have no access to Ty Inc. sales or production records. Ty Inc. produces multiple different product lines. Beanie Baby "rise and fall" theories propagated by the media are based on little more than pure speculation. The media got it wrong. The Beanie Baby craze never ended.

From 1998 to 2019, Ty sales exceeded one billion dollars every year except 2013, 2014 and 2015. Those were the same years Ty introduced the Wildz, Baby Ballz, Frizzys and Peek-a-Boos product lines. Based on the short-lived run of these new products, they probably had a negative effect on Ty Inc. overall sales and profits for those years.

What really happened was the "Rise and Fall of the Beanie Baby Gamblers." Those were the adults, probably numbered in the millions, who somehow came to believe a five-dollar toy could appreciate in value to hundreds of dollars or more in just a few years and then continue to rise in value year after year. Most ended up paying for their delusions with empty pockets.

Beanie Babies Evolve

In 2009, Ty Warner introduced a new product line named "Beanie Boos." The Beanie Boos are the next evolutionary step for the Beanie Babies. As sales of Beanie Boos increased, Ty introduced more new Boos and fewer new Beanie Babies each year. It was a smooth transition from an outdated plush design to a similar but more appealing design for children. The Beanie Boos appear to be as popular as the Beanie Babies always were. Ty Warner, once again introduced a plush toy that captured the imagination and allowance money of young children. Beanie Baby or Beanie Boo, they are essentially the same thing. Both product lines are "Beanies" and they both sport the Ty logo. And they are both still flying off retailer shelves world-wide.

For a more in-depth article about The Rise and Fall of the Beanie Baby Gamblers, visit our Entyclopedia section.

Ty is never at a loss for new surprises. In this instant-on, electrified, automated world it is refreshing to see a young child enter a toy store and run straight to the Beanie Baby or the Beanie Boos display. Beanie Babies have been with us for about 30 years and will probably be around for a long time to come.

In July 2021, Ty surprised collectors with a new style of Beanie Baby by announcing eight of them in the Fall 2021 Ty Retailer catalog. The new style shipped to retailers in December 2021. Near the end of that month Ty filed for a trademark on the name "Beanie Bellies." He began to advertise the new style on his Internet site as "Beanie Bellies." The new style Beanie Babies are soft and cuddly, with embroidered paws. Ty introduced 13 more Beanie Babies in the new style in the Spring 2022 Ty retailer catalog.

Fall 2021 New style Beanie Babies (Beanie Bellies)
New style Ty Beanie Babies (Beanie Bellies)

In 2022, Ty spun off the Bellies style of Beanie Babies into its own separate product line with a new swing tag that showed "Beanie Bellies" on the front of the tag and "The Beanie Bellies Collection" on the inside of the tag.

Article Copyright ©May 1, 2021 by Leon & Sondra Schlossberg. All rights reserved.

Last update - January 1, 2024

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