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Beanie Babies
Old 12-14-2017, 07:37 PM   #1
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Beanie Babies

The current talk about bitcoins brings back the memory of beanie babies. Surely, older people here remember this. It happened in the mid 1990s, and I was aware of this at the time, but never bought one or knew one who did.

Just now remember to surf the Web to fill in my gap of knowledge. Wikipedia has an article on this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beanie_Babies.

The above article said that "At its height of popularity people would flip Beanies at as much as ten-fold on eBay. Indeed, at the height, Beanies made up 10% of eBay's sales. Some collectors insured their purchases for a price in the thousands."

Only 10-fold? I thought it was higher than that. So, I next went to eBay, and what do you know, I saw some beanie baby offerings for $680,000 OBO, then $658,000, going on down to $350K, $250K, etc... Holy Molly!

Sure, these are asking prices, but what is the highest actual sale?

I checked for sold items, and the highest was a "Princess Diana 1st Edition" that went for $50,000. The next item was a "Peace Ty Beanie Baby" that was bought for $28,000.

So, who says there's no money in Beanie Babies? I never own one, but if you did, would you not be kicking yourself you did not keep your closet full of them? Just a couple of dozens of them would set you up for cushy retirement, and 1995 was not that long ago.

Buy baby beanies in your 20s, retire early in your 50s. Nice!
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Old 12-14-2017, 07:46 PM   #2
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The problem with beanies is there was no market for them, if you wanted to trade there was only eBay and you need the right buyer, crypto currencies have exchanges that operate like the stock market, imagine a beanie baby stock market
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Old 12-14-2017, 07:48 PM   #3
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Google the South Seas Bubble, or the Dutch Tulip Bubble. History has a way of repeating itself
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Old 12-14-2017, 07:52 PM   #4
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Google the South Seas Bubble, or the Dutch Tulip Bubble. History has a way of repeating itself
These well-known bubbles burst long ago. There are no marks left of them, except for the stories told in books.

Beanie babies still live on. Long live beanie babies! For $50K, you can have a real one to cuddle in your arms. Check out eBay for yourself.
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Old 12-14-2017, 08:16 PM   #5
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Uh, I take that back. One should be able to find stock certificates of the South Sea Company. Tulip bulbs on the other hand, the original ones either bloomed, or rot. I don't think anyone thought of preserving them.

Looked on the Web, and sure enough there was one South Sea stock certificate on auction last year. Starting bid: $1000. Didn't look like there was any offer.

Darn! That does not speak well for the stock certificates I held of the two startups that I helped getting started. Would not be worth 1c.

Low certificate serial number too. I think I still have them in my file cabinet somewhere, because I do not remember throwing them out.
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Old 12-14-2017, 08:20 PM   #6
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My brother was sucked into the beanie baby craze. He gave our grandmother a "new with tags" beanie for Christmas one year - she looked at him like he'd grown a second head and asked "what am I supposed to do with this?".

When he died there were several tubs full of beanie babies - carefully stored and packaged - in his basement. He considered them an investment. He left his estate, outside a few family heirloom sentimental pieces, to his church and my sister and I helped the pastor and his wife figure out/sort through the rest of his stuff. The pastor chose to donate the beanie babies to an orphanage... so they would be played with!!!

My brother probably rolled over in his grave... but my sister and I felt it was a positive outcome for these little plush toys.
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Old 12-14-2017, 08:33 PM   #7
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I checked for sold items, and the highest was a "Princess Diana 1st Edition" that went for $50,000. The next item was a "Peace Ty Beanie Baby" that was bought for $28,000.

So, who says there's no money in Beanie Babies?
The problem is, that it was hard to impossible to get a Princess Diana 1st Edition or a Peace Ty Beanie Baby at "face value". They were a collector item from the get go. Most, if not all, the rest are basically worthless. Same thing with many of those items from the 80's. One of the first Holiday Barbies or the first Cabbage Patch Kid might be worth money, but having it in the first place let alone finding a buyer today is next to impossible.
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Old 12-14-2017, 08:40 PM   #8
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lol

As soon as I saw the title, I thought of bitcoins [and tulips.]
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Old 12-14-2017, 08:42 PM   #9
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The problem with beanies is there was no market for them, if you wanted to trade there was only eBay and you need the right buyer, crypto currencies have exchanges that operate like the stock market, imagine a beanie baby stock market
Beanie Babies' biggest problem was they had no inherent value beyond the 50 cents or so that it cost to manufacture each of them.

Gold and diamonds command more than their inherent value in large part because of their rarity. Bitcoins are a series of ones and zeroes in magnetic storage ... nothing rare there.

Paper money is made of a common material, but its face value is backed by the real assets, public and private, of a nation. Even so, a government can squander public confidence by, say, defaulting on its debts, and the value of its currency can decline.

A currency's total collapse is quite rare, though. And when the nation gets back on its feet, it can recover the trust in its monetary system. as in Russia and Germany.

Bitcoins have no massive asset base guaranteeing their value. So what ensures that they'll be worth $10,000, $1,000 or even $10 five years from now?
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Old 12-14-2017, 09:01 PM   #10
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Collector items are weird things that I never understand. Some can get quite expensive, and many are throwaways.

I can understand why a van Gogh painting can fetch $10M. Or some Egyptian archeological artifacts stolen from a pyramid. But would a South Sea Company stock certificate not be worth something as a conversation piece? As I wrote above, one went on auction for $1000 starting bid and there was no taker. On the other hand, a beanie baby went for $5000 on eBay, and only it's only 25-year old. Are beanie babies more rare?

Can I assume that there are more surviving South Sea Company stock certificates than Princess Diana 1st Edition Beanie Babies? Or perhaps it's because more people know about the latter than about the former?
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Old 12-14-2017, 09:06 PM   #11
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DW's former supervisor has a literal room full of Beanie Babies she ferociously collected. She keeps the room closed up as it probably represents $100 K in cost with no monetary value at this time.
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Old 12-14-2017, 09:09 PM   #12
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Where is my pet rock?
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Old 12-14-2017, 09:37 PM   #13
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When he died there were several tubs full of beanie babies - carefully stored and packaged - in his basement. He considered them an investment. He left his estate, outside a few family heirloom sentimental pieces, to his church and my sister and I helped the pastor and his wife figure out/sort through the rest of his stuff. The pastor chose to donate the beanie babies to an orphanage... so they would be played with!!!
Maybe a decade ago, my mom bought a tub full of beanie babies at a yard sale as they were closing up in the afternoon. I think she paid $2 for 50-100 of them (and honestly the huge rubbermaid tub they came in was probably worth at least $5 if empty!). We laughed because we knew someone had probably paid several hundred dollars, perhaps thousands of dollars for these stuffed animals that will end up in the landfill one day, if they aren't there already. To our kids, they were just fun, cute little toys and held no value beyond that of a plaything.
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Old 12-14-2017, 10:48 PM   #14
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But the funny thing, in a way, is that folks DO enjoy what they enjoy. Far be it from me to judge them for what makes other people happy. Those hundreds of dollars worth of wothless Beanie Babies probably took them years to acquire But they were happy at the time. Similarly, there will be people that bought stuff (stocks, bonds, homes) in the last year or two that may come to realize their investment declined. Just enjoy life and encourage Beanie Baby investors to diversify into Index Funds
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Old 12-14-2017, 10:55 PM   #15
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My brother was sucked into the beanie baby craze. He gave our grandmother a "new with tags" beanie for Christmas one year - she looked at him like he'd grown a second head and asked "what am I supposed to do with this?".

When he died there were several tubs full of beanie babies...
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DW's former supervisor has a literal room full of Beanie Babies she ferociously collected. She keeps the room closed up as it probably represents $100 K in cost with no monetary value at this time.
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Maybe a decade ago, my mom bought a tub full of beanie babies at a yard sale as they were closing up in the afternoon. I think she paid $2 for 50-100 of them (and honestly the huge rubbermaid tub they came in was probably worth at least $5 if empty!)...
I hope people went through them to see if there was any "Princess Diana 1st Edition", whatever that was. Somebody was willing to pay $50,000 for that on eBay! There's one on etsy with an asking price of $250K.

Here's what it looks like.

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Old 12-14-2017, 11:03 PM   #16
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Argh! It's really complicated. See this article on just that "Princess, Ty Beanie Baby Bear" with its many versions.

http://www.tycollector.com/the-scoop/princess-bear.htm

There's a parallel in Bitcoin with its many forks (Bitcoin XT, Bitcoin Classic, Bitcoin Unlimited, Bitcoin ABC) and splits (Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Diamond, UnitedBitcoin, BitcoinX, Super Bitcoin).

Wouldn't one go crazy trying to figure out the exchange rate between them? And there are 1200 bitcoin knockoffs. Arghhh!


PS. The above article explains that the Princess beanie usually goes for $5 to $100. The eBay sales for $50K was done by a shill.
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Old 12-14-2017, 11:21 PM   #17
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Where is my pet rock?


I still have a pet rock that a fellow college student made for me after we returned from a geology field trip.

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Old 12-15-2017, 04:30 AM   #18
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DW had a cabbage patch doll in the box when we got married. I finally convinced her to get rid of it a few years later.
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Old 12-15-2017, 04:37 AM   #19
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Yep. Many people also think that ALL sportscards are worthless now that the bubble burst (20+ years ago), but the older and rare cards are still very valuable. It's the mass produced cards from the late 80's that are (mostly) worthless. By the same token, I am sure there are a handful of Beanies that are worth money, but it is due to the rarity, not just the fact they are Beanies.

In the middle of the craze, people went nuts and waited overnight in lines at Toys R Us, etc. for the latest Beanie, not realizing that by that time there were millions of those being produced. Yes, some still have value. But not all.

Remember Longaberger baskets? I hit a lot of yard sales each year, and find hundreds of those baskets. Some are cheap. Others are priced like the world still collects them. They are well made, in my opinion, and worth having if you want a nice basket at a discounted price. But very few have the imagined value placed on them by dreaming sellers.
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Old 12-15-2017, 05:32 AM   #20
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Same thing for Hummel figurines. I got my mom a bunch of them over the years as presents and she loved them. They were valuable for a while on eBay, but no more. Pretty much worthless now, although I still see them in shops in Europe, priced as if they were still collector's items.

OTOH, around 10-15 years ago DW found a Barbie she had played with in the 50s, still in its original box. Sold it on eBay for thousands of dollars.
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