Ty introduced Princess
on October 29, 1997. In November 1997, Ty
informed retailers they could only order 12 Princess
for delivery in December. This restriction caused many collectors and retailers to
would be a limited edition.
The "limited edition" rumors caused a
buying frenzy when Princess
first shipped to Ty retailers in late
December 1997. Announcements from Ty and Patricia A. Roche (Managing
director of Ty Europe) that Princess would be in plentiful supply in 1998, did
little to calm the buying frenzy.
Collector and speculator demand
immediately drove the secondary market price for
Beanie Baby to more than $200. Some retailers held back the
bears they received in the initial shipment, opting instead to auction them off
or hoard them for future sale when values were anticipated to be higher. Various
newspapers and magazines reported that collectors were buying Princess
on the secondary market for prices sometimes exceeding $300.
To this day, much of the production history for the Princess
Baby is still a mystery.
Collectors who paid hundreds of dollars for Princess
during the initial
buying frenzy still believe Princess
is worth more than the price
they paid. Children who received Princess
as a gift from their parents
believe it is valuable today because "their parents told them so." New
collectors are misled about Princess
values by uninformed, dishonest or deluded sellers on eBay who frequently attempt to sell
or auction Princess
for prices ranging from hundreds to hundreds of
had never been planned to be a limited edition. Ty wanted to
in stores before Christmas, but he could not start producing them
until he received approval from the Princess Diana Fund managers. Approval was granted on October 29, 1997, the same day Ty introduced
at the Ty Internet site. Now that production could begin, time and
logistics dictated the total number of Princess
bears that could actually be
produced and shipped to stores before Christmas. That was the only reason for the retailer
limits of 12 Princess
Beanie Babies in December 1997.
Searching for the facts
According to "most" accounts, the very first shipments of Princess
to arrive at retail outlets had a tush tag showing Princess
was filled with
In either late December 1997 or some time between January and March 1998 (existing accounts
conflict with each other), Princess
bears were discovered that had tush tags showing they were filled with P.E.
pellets. The appearance of the P.E. pellet tags
initiated a controversy
that continues to this day. The controversy appears to focus on three questions:
1. Which version of Princess
was produced first?
2. How many different versions of Princess
3. How many Princess
Beanie Babies of each version did Ty produce?
This article examines the Princess
Beanie Baby timeline with a focus
on existing evidence. Information about Princess
in printed media and on the
Internet has been copied, edited and recopied so many times it is difficult to
separate speculation from truth.
Ty does not release production and inventory records to the public, so there may
always be a Princess
mystery. Recollections of events by authorized Ty
retailers who received the first shipments of Princess
ago contradict each
It seems odd that a Beanie Baby with such a mediocre secondary market value
today is so hotly debated by collectors. Princess
Beanie Babies change hands
frequently on eBay every month for less than five dollars each. There is no shortage of eBay sellers claiming
theirs is a "first edition" Princess
even though many of them are incorrect as evidenced
by the photographs of Princess
tags in their listings.
Some sellers list Princess
with starting prices ranging from thousands to sometimes millions of dollars. One can only
hope potential buyers understand prices that high are not only unrealistic but
essentially a joke. Most sellers on eBay claim their Princess is "rare," but the
sheer number of Princess Beanie Babies available for sale on eBay refutes that
claim. On February 10, 2014, when the Princess values were calculated for this
article, there were more than 1,500 Princess Beanie Babies listed for sale on
Ty plush collectors often strive to have the "first" version of any Beanie Baby. It is generally believed a "first" version will always be the most
surprise appearance of a P.E. tush tag on Princess
caused dilemmas with collectors
who could not figure out which tush tag was the actual "first." Conflicting stories regarding
the P.E. tush tag appeared in the media and on the Internet. Many collectors
attempted to purchase two Princess
bears, each with a different version of the tush tag. That way one of the two bears
had to be the "first
Initially, the P.E. tush tag on Princess
was presumed to be an error. A few articles in the
media claimed Ty had announced the P.E. tush tag was a mistake and the
bears with P.E. tush tags were actually filled with P.V.C. pellets.
Another media report claimed a Princess
with the P.E. tush tag
had been tested in a laboratory and found to be filled with P.V.C. pellets. We have not seen
any documented copies of the alleged laboratory test results.
Conflicting theories and information
The initial presumption that the P.E. tush tag was a
"mistake" created another rush to purchase Princess
bears with the P.E. tush tag by collectors who specialized in Ty Beanie Baby "errors" or "oddities."
Then another theory surfaced claiming Ty had produced the Princess
bears with the
P.V.C. and P.E. tush tags simultaneously in two different Chinese factories. The
theory held that a Princess
with either of the tush tags could be considered a "first edition." There exists no
publicly released documentary proof to substantiate the "two
factory" theory. By "proof" I mean hard-copy Ty production records, stock
inventories or other papers that would provide a Princess
first production run in China. The merchant who posted this two-factory theory on the Internet
challenged anyone to "prove her wrong." That in itself is suspicious
because she provides nothing credible to "prove herself right."
Since the first "two factory" theory appeared, other collectors have proposed
different theories with the same challenge to "prove them wrong." Given the lack
of any credible documentary evidence, none of these "prove me wrong" theories
can be substantiated.
I have also communicated with collectors who claim their version of the Princess
has to be true because they "heard" it from a Ty
Employee or even a Ty corporate executive. Those accounts should be discounted because they are never backed up by hard copy documents like
a letter or email from the alleged Ty employee. These "Ty employee as the source
of information" stories are even more unlikely considering Ty Warner's
strict corporate rules that prohibit company employees from disclosing any
information about the company or its products to the public.
In spite of all of the hype, misinformation and secondary market speculation,
a "made in China" version of Princess
P.V.C. tush tag and "no-space" swing tag is currently worth an average of $38. A
"made in China" version of Princess
with a P.E. tush tag and
"no-space" swing tag is currently worth an average of $30. All values in this article
apply to a Princess
in like-new condition with
mint swing and tush tags. Princess
swing tag is worth less than a dollar.
When all is said and done, the value of a
Beanie Baby bear is the amount a willing buyer will pay to a willing seller.
bears "correctly" listed as "first editions" at eBay
have been selling for the past month in a range from $18 to $51, with an
average overall "sold" price of approximately $38. The average "sold"
price fluctuates significantly from month to month but the selling range tends
to remain reasonably stable.
First Princess production in China
A "first version" of Princess
has the following
swing tag. Note that the text on the right side
of the swing tag does NOT have a line space
above "DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES". The left side
of the tag states "Handmade in China". We refer
to this swing tag as ST #1.
Princess production in Indonesia
was also produced in Indonesia. The Indonesia version is worth
an average of $51 with a P.V.C. tush tag (with the no-space swing tag) and an
average of $21 with a P.E. tush tag (with the
no-space swing tag).
Collectors frequently ask why an Indonesian Princess
is sometimes more
valuable than a Princess
from the first production period in China? The
answer lies in the "mystique" surrounding all of the Beanie Babies produced in
Indonesia, not just Princess
. Indonesian Beanie Babies are reputed to have
richer-colored and softer fabrics. Princess
bears produced in Indonesia are much
more difficult to find on the secondary market than Princess
bears from the
first period of production in China.
bears made in Indonesia were destined for the Canadian and
European markets. This raises the possibility that Princess
Indonesia began on the same date as production in China. This would place the
bears made in Indonesia with no-space swing tags and P.V.C. tush tags
into contention for "first edition" status.
bears made in Indonesia can have a ST #2 (same as ST #1,
except that "Handmade in Indonesia" is printed on the inside bottom left of tag)
or the follow-on ST #3. Note that the text on the right side of ST #3 has a line
space above "DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES". An Indonesian Princess with ST #2
(no-space) and P.V.C. pellets is currently worth an average of $51. An Indonesian Princess
with ST #2 (no-space) and P.E. pellets is worth an average of $21. The Indonesian Princess with ST #3
(space) is worth an average of $15.
|Made in Indonesia (ST #2)
Made in Indonesia (ST #3)
The tush tag of a Princess
produced in Indonesia can show it is made
from either P.V.C. or P.E. pellets. P.V.C. and P.E. tush tags
have been paired with the Indonesian Princess
with ST #2 (no-space) and
with ST #3 (space). Although a few have been reported, it
is not currently known whether the ST #3 (space) with a P.V.C. tush tag was a
normal production run or an oddity. That tag combination does not seem to fit
the tag timelines. The existence of the P.V.C. tush tag with a ST #3 was
confirmed with a photo graciously sent to us by Natasha Cupido from West Sussex,
|P.V.C. tush tag
|P.V.C. tush tag
|P.E. tush tag
|P.E. tush tag
Ty discontinued production of Princess in Indonesia because of problems with
quality. Production was resumed in Chinese facilities. A shift of production
like this from one country to another raises obvious questions. Answers to these
questions could have a
definite bearing on Princess
versions and values. Given the absence of
credible information or release of official documents from Ty however, these
questions may never be answered.
1. Did production in China and Indonesia begin
2. When Ty stopped production in Indonesia, were unused
fabrics and pellets transferred back to the new Chinese facilities? Were the
Chinese facilities new or were they the same ones used during the first
3. During the post-Indonesia production period in China, was Princess
produced with tush tags omitting the Chinese factory stamp?
4. How many Princess
bears were actually made during the first
production period in China, the production period in Indonesia, and the
production period in China after production in Indonesia was halted?
Post-Indonesia Princess production in China
bears made in China after production stopped in Indonesia are worth
an average of $10 without a Chinese factory stamp inside the tush tag and an
average of $5 with the stamp.
made during this
period had a new version of the swing tag that shows "Handmade in China",
and a swing tag (ST #4) with a line
space above "DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES".
Made during second production period in China (ST #4)
Second production period in China (ST #4a)
"Gosport" misspelled "Gasport" on left inside of swing tag
bears made during the second period of production in China have
tush tags like the one shown below. Most
(not all) of the tush tags
from this production period have
a red stamp inside the loop of the tush tag that represents the Chinese factory
of origin. It isn't known how many different numbered stamps there
are for Princess
. We can confirm the existence of numbers
400, 401, 403, 405, 410, 416, 418, 425, 433, 447, 450, 464, 472, 474 and 481. Other
numbers like 463, 466 and 487 have been reported but we can not confirm those.
When you look at the tag below with the number 481 inside the circular stamp, it
is easy to see why the last number might be interpreted to be a "7" instead of a
Tush tag number 425 was confirmed with photos sent by Yvonne
Tush tag number 433 was confirmed with photos sent by Suzanne Bryan from
is not the only
Beanie Baby produced with Chinese factory stamps inside the tush tags. Several
other Beanie Babies produced during that period also have the same types of
stamps with various numbers inside their tush tags.
|P.E. tush tag,
2nd China period
|P.E. tush tag,
2nd China period
|Tush tag (inside)
Chinese factory number,
2nd China period
Prices paid on eBay for Princess
bears from the second period of
production in China fluctuate erratically. Buyers have been paying from $2 to $15
for these versions. The actual value of Princess
bears from this period (with red factory markings inside the tush tags) is approximately
$5 or less but novice purchasers become confused by the Chinese factory
markings; erroneously believing the number denotes a limited or special
production run. Some sellers take advantage of this confusion by placing extra
emphasis on the "number."
Many sellers also attempt to draw attention to their listing by stating the tush
tag on their Princess
has the red star next to the heart. That is
hardly consequential since ALL of the Princess
Beanie Baby bears have
the same red star.
Canada customs tags
The country of Canada has regulations that require a special tag be attached to
toy products imported from other countries. Referred to by most Ty collectors as
"extra Canadian tush tags", these tags were attached to Princess
bears produced in Indonesia and China (during the second production period) that were
destined to be sold by retailers in Canada. Collectors frequently add one or two
dollars to the value of any Beanie Baby that has a Canadian customs tag.
From time to time, prices paid by buyers on eBay for the Princess
Beanie Baby increase dramatically for a short period of time. This generally
happens when a blogger, a personality on a TV show or a news reporter claims Princess
because it is selling for an extremely high price on eBay.
That of course, is an uninformed misrepresentation or sometimes an intentional
deception designed to scam potential collectors who do not understand how eBay
Here is an example.
Joe Gotcha has a crisp new one dollar bill. He creates an eBay auction listing
for his dollar, with a $300,000 dollar starting bid. Or, he lists it as a "buy it now"
item for $300,000, or "best offer."
There is no eBay policy that prohibits Joe from asking for any price he wants.
He even lists the serial number of the one dollar bill and claims in the listing
it is a one of a kind item. He's not really lying; there is only one dollar bill
in existence with that serial number.
Then Joe goes to his blog on the Internet and informs the world that the value
of one dollar bills has risen out of sight because they are being sold on eBay
Do you think anyone will bid on that one dollar bill? Of course not. But believe
it or not, there are desperate speculators out there who might very well
purchase some other one dollar bills at eBay for $50 or $75, just in case the
"rumors" are true. And naturally, Joe has listed those too (at much lower
prices) in order to snag a few buyers who think they are getting a good deal.
That is exactly what happened in early January 2014 with Princess
online news reporter suggested Princess
could be worth $300,000 because that was the price
it was selling for at eBay. Tycollector was suddenly inundated with e-mails from
owners who wanted to know if it was true and also where they could sell
they owned. "Hope springs eternal."
Unfortunately, and quite sadly, several inexperienced collectors and/or
speculators bought Princess
Beanie Babies on eBay in January 2014 for prices
well in excess of the bear's worth, apparently after reading or hearing about the
news reporter's incorrect value assumptions.
When we see spikes in the value of Princess
Beanie Babies due to events like
this, we do not use the outrageously high prices paid for Princess
at eBay in
our value computations for at least a 60-day period. By then the secondary
market has settled sufficiently to resume using all of the prices paid at eBay
in our value formulas. During these temporary periods of artificial value hype
we focus more on the prices being received by known "honest" collectors and
The same thing happened last year when an uninformed "appraiser" on a popular
television show suggested a Princess
Beanie found in an
abandoned storage room could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars
depending on which version of Princess
it happened to be. That incorrect
assessment was also based on what Princess
was being listed for on eBay instead
of the true indicator; the prices buyers actually "PAY" for
Buyers beware. We would gladly and immediately notify collectors if something
transpired that would cause a dramatic increase in the value of a Princess
Beanie Baby. It would of course have to be something like a P.V.C.-eating virus
that was destroying all of the Princess
Beanies in the world that were not
protected in sealed plastic containers; but short of something remarkable like
that, it isn't likely the true value of the Princess
Beanie Baby will be
skyrocketing any time soon - or in our lifetimes for that matter.
More information on the way
Collectors generally acknowledge that the Chinese and Indonesian versions of
are different because of the different Indonesian-made fabrics
used in production. A few collectors claim they have discovered additional differences in Princess
fabrics, embroidery, and color that suggest there are even more versions of Princess
than previously believed. Princess also exists in various sizes (heights) from
7.75 inches to 9.25 inches. To date, we have not seen a credible difference that
would relate the various sizes to the production timeline.
When this article
continues, we will examine some of the "variation" theories that address the
embroidered rose and its stem, along with differences in the shade of the
Princess purple fabric.
Counterfeit Alert !
Counterfeit versions of Princess
exist. Check for the following
common indicators before purchasing this Beanie Baby:
1. The counterfeit Princess
has a "made in China" no-space swing
tag and a P.V.C. tush tag.
2. The fabric on a counterfeit Princess
can be lighter or darker
than the fabric on an authentic Princess
, which makes it difficult to
identify a counterfeit solely based on fabric color.
3. The fabric on many counterfeit Princess
Beanie Babies looks more
like flannel than the normal plush fabric used for Beanie Babies.
4. When you run your finger against the nap of the fabric on a
, it feels rougher than the fabric of an authentic Beanie
Baby. When brushing lightly back and forth across the fabric of an authentic
Beanie Baby the fabric is smooth and gives little resistance.
5. The neck ribbon of a counterfeit Princess
is well made but only
finished on one side. The other side is dull. The ribbon on an authentic
is finished on both sides. The ribbon on some counterfeit Princess
Beanies is also slightly wider than the ribbon an an authentic Princess
6. The stem of the rose embroidered on the chest of a counterfeit
may be slightly wider and fuller than the stem of the rose on an
7. The swing tag on a counterfeit Princess
can have several flaws
including uneven width of the gold border around the tag, incorrect red color
and incorrect or off-center spacing of the writing inside the yellow star.
Note: It is possible for a Princess
itself to be authentic but to have a
counterfeit/replacement ribbon and/or counterfeit swing tag. Since the value of
a Beanie Baby decreases so markedly when it has no swing tag, counterfeiters
have been known to acquire authentic Princess
Beanie Babies without their swing
tags and/or ribbons and then add the counterfeit ribbons and tags to bring the
value back up.
beaniemom.com (discontinued in 2004)
magazine, Spring 1998, Trend Masters Publications
Ongoing "Completed (sold) listings" for Princess
Beanie Babies at
values listed in this article are derived from eBay and
other known secondary market sales. Values on this page are updated every four
to six weeks based on sales activity for the previous four to six week period.
Swing tag, tush tag and Princess Beanie Baby photos provided by Leon and Sondra
Schlossberg, curators of the tycollector.com Ty Museum collection.