Collector warning issued after couple pays $15 for Beanie Baby, believes it’s worth tens of thousands

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Correction: This article has been corrected to clarify that the listing price on Princess Diana bears has little connection with actual value. It also has been edited to reflect a warning issued by the website tycollector.com. 

(WITI) -- Oh, the 90s. If there’s anything the decade taught us, it was how to spend copious amounts of money on mundane objects that may be worth a truckload one day.

For the thousands who blew their hard-earned cash on Beanie Babies, the small teddy bear-like animals stuffed with “beans” and labeled with a heart-shaped “TY,” the only thing their investment ever got them was a healthy dose of shame and regret.

One couple in Great Britain reportedly hopes their flea market find may turn into a down payment for a house, but a leading collector group is dismissing the possibility.

Leah Rogers and Ryan Flanagan were selling a range of toys in Bude, Cornwall when they noticed a particular purple bear at a nearby seller’s stall, the Daily Mail reported.

Flanagan, 22, used to collect the bears and recognized that it was the limited edition Princess Diana Beanie Baby.

The bears were first released in 1997 to raise money for the Princess of Wales Memorial Trust after the former future queen died in a tragic paparazzi-fueled car accident in Paris.

Certain markers indicate that a Princess Di bear is not a first edition, like an extra space in the poem or a stamp inside the tag.

The couple paid just £10 ($15) for the toy, but when they checked eBay, they found a listing for £62,500 ($93,406) for the rare version they say they have.

They now have their own listing on eBay with a starting bid of £20,000 ($29,890). The couple is hoping to turn their special find into a down payment for a house, the Mail reports.  But there have been no bids yet, and their good fortune may be much ado about nothing.

Listing price and value are hardly connected, especially on auction sites such as eBay. While they have the limited edition bear,  Tycollector.com has issued a fraud alert warning consumers that their Diana bear isn’t worth much at all, regardless of production run.

The company that produced Beanie Babies made more than $6 billion from the craze, which ended around 1999.

Although collectors believed that certain Beanie Babies would eventually increase in value, including the ones shaped like bears or “retired” designs, their investments rarely paid off.

22 comments

  • Bernie

    Once again you can ASK whatever price you want. It is only worth what some one is willing to pay. The Beanie Baby listed for $93,000 was NOT sold. Who has that kind of money for a stuffed toy worth $4.95 new?
    So there are only 100 made. My guess would be $1,000 best. The “craze” is over.

  • Bernie

    Rare does NOT always mean valuable. I am sure there are a lot of one-of-a-kind items worth next to nothing!

    • John G Kitchen IV

      The bear at this link shows slight differences between the one in this article. I do not collect these but the one at this link has the rose all white and the one on this article has the rose colored in with the stem in green.

  • Spurslass

    this is rubbish. I have at least 2 or 3 of the Princess Diana bear, in beanie and buddie form. If they were worth that much, I’d be laughing!!
    I sold about 300 of normal bears for £30 plus postage (where in the high of the craze, I estimate I’d paid over £1000 for them). they are virtually worthless!

  • Alicia Lynn Reichlin

    The sad part is, the princess diana bear isn’t worth anything. I have 4 of them. I bought them 6 years ago at a flea market for $2 a piece and I thought the same thing. I had a big time TY beanie baby collector look at them and she had a couple as well. I thought they were incredibly rare. Not at all. The general rule of thumb when collecting is, if it is made to be collectible, it usually isn’t rare and isn’t really worth anything. Beanie Babies were a cautionary tale at best.

  • Sandy

    I have a huge Beanie Baby collection, all bought when they were first popular. People always said what a great investment it would be but I just bought them because I liked them. Good thing, because you can never really make money from them anymore. Rule of thumb: When buying a “collectible”, only buy if you really like the item. Don’t buy because you expect to send your kids to college off them money you’ll make from them!

  • Tony James

    “The bears were first released in 1997…after the former future queen died in a tragic paparazzi-fueled car accident in Paris.”
    FYI, Diana would never have become queen. “Queen consort”, maybe, but never queen in her own right.

  • Darr Sandberg

    It is interesting that the company that made the bears, deliberately creating a market based on speculation, making themselves 6 billion, now asserts that the bear isn’t worth much at all.

    It may not be illegal, but certainly, the whole business was deeply immoral.

    • Nope

      News and information about Ty collectibles
      (published by collectors for collectors)

      Tycollector is not run by the company.

  • Jacob Wilson

    When you write an article that deals with the conversion of two different types of currency, try to at least get CLOSE to the actual value. The current comparison of dollar to euro is 0.93 (US) to 1 (Euro).

    • Ian Bain

      The prices quoted in the article are not in Euros but in British Pounds and the conversion is accurate.

  • Margaret

    Like Bernie said. Something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for. I’ve seen bags of beanie babies at resale stores going for only a few dollars. When they were popular I worked with someone who spent all her days off driving around all Wisconsin looking for a “certain” beanie baby. I’ve also seen them at flea markets for about 50 cents a piece. “I’m going to be able to retire early, from all the money I’m going to make selling these”. I had a friend that actually said that,. Last time I talked to her, none have been bought and she still had the whole collection still insisting she was going to get rich from that.

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  • Connie pine

    i got 1 tote full of beanie babies in plastic cases
    Plus 1 big box full of boxed beanie babies plus bags full of them
    I inherited them. If i could get good fair price for whole lot id b happy.
    Im tired of them taking up in my small house

  • Angela

    None of the beanies produced after the 3rd generation is worth very much other then the very limited like the billionaire bears or event bears. People need to research before they pull the trigger on buying beanies. eBay has the most unrealistec sellers in the world. They think buyers are foolish and pay anything over $50.00 for Priness Diana. The first batch of this was made in Indonesia and Ty was not happy with the material and decided to have it produce in China. He was satisfied with the material they came up with for Princess Diana beanie.

    Buyers don’t be fooled and ripped off by sellers that use fancy words to describe this bear. They were mass produced.

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