How to Sell Beanie Babies

The Beanie Baby bubble has burst, but you might still find a buyer

Beanie Babies sitting in a row
Dominique Godbout

Back in the early 1990s, Ty Warner began selling Beanie Babies, stuffed toys filled with plastic pellets to make them more flexible. Warner manipulated the market by only producing a limited number of each toy and regularly retiring them. He created more demand than supply. The result was that by the mid-'90s, Beanie Babies were riding a huge wave of popularity, and some people were buying them strictly for investment; some were selling on eBay for 10 times their original price, and some buyers insured these hot toys for thousands of dollars in anticipation of a rise in their collectible value. But in 1999, in a crash similar to one on the stock market, the bottom fell out of the Beanie Baby craze. Beanie Babies are now worth about 50 cents apiece, reports Zac Bissonnette, who wrote "The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute."

If you have a rare older version with original tags, and it's in mint condition, you might be able to get a bit more than a half a buck for it, but don't count on much more.

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Research Your Beanie Babies

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Check out websites like Smart Collecting or eBay to find out the generation of the hang tags your Beanies have. Then you can do a little research to see what your actual pieces are selling for on the website and also on eBay's completed auctions. Check recently sold listings on eBay by searching for the item and then clicking on "sold listings" once you land on the search page. Also, take a look at completed auction prices for rare Beanie Babies, but be aware that these are for very rare versions.

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Choose Where to Sell Your Beanie Baby

Once you know the relative value of your Beanie Baby, decide where you want to list it for sale. There's no reason you can't list your baby on more than one online site; eBay, Etsy, and Craigslist ​are good places to start. You can also post "ads" on your social media accounts for the public to see. If you're having a garage or yard sale, display the baby in an appealing setting with other toys but be aware that you will get very little for any toy you sell at a garage or yard sale.

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Photograph and List Online

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To list your baby online, you need photos that will grab the shopper and also show detail. Take several photos from all angles and include a close-up of the tag, which is extremely important to Beanie Baby buyers. Write a snappy description that includes all pertinent details; highlight facts like rarity, if the toy is one of the early ones and include everything on the tag.

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Ship Your Beanie Baby

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The easiest and best way to ship Beanie Babies is to use Priority Mail flat-rate boxes from the U.S. Postal Service. Choose the size that will best suit what you've sold. There are three box sizes, which range in price from $7.15 to $18.85 as of September 2017. Some sellers suggest putting Beanie Babies inside plastic Ziplock bags for protection.