Ty Beanie Babies
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Ty Beanie Babies

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Beanie Babies family

Beanie Babies were introduced in 1993, at the Gatlinburg 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) Beanie Babies in 1994, Cubbie had sold as Brownie.

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 ignited a worldwide collecting frenzy that peaked with hordes of collectors spending literally thousands of dollars to acquire any one of the harder to find beanies.

The 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.

Beanie Babies 2.0 swing tag (front)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 Babies after all. Subsequent releases 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.
 
The debate is ongoing as to whether or not the Beanie Baby craze has run its course. Secondary market values for rare Beanie Babies have fallen dramatically. Ty product resellers believe there are fewer and fewer collectors. Others (this writer included) believe 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 display. Beanie Babies have been with us for about 18 years and will probably be around for a long time to come.



Last update - April 6, 2012

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