When are Ty Collectibles Retired?
On June 15, 1995, Ty announced the official retirement of Humphrey (the Beanie Baby camel). This publicly announced "retired" date for a Beanie Baby triggered a buying and collecting frenzy that lasted more than five years. Official Ty "retired dates" became an essential element of information in the description of any Beanie Baby. Retirement announcements were expanded to include all of the other Ty product lines.
It had always been generally perceived that "retired" products would increase in value on the secondary market as collector demand outstripped supply of the discontinued (retired) items. It was not unusual for an official retirement announcement to send thousands of Ty collectors nationwide into stores to purchase the last of the "retired" items.
On December 27, 2007, Ty officially retired more than two hundred Beanie Babies and abruptly discontinued the official retirement announcements. Even though a large number of Beanie Babies had been officially retired at the end of 2007, Ty continued to sell many of them for years following that announcement. "Retirement date" no longer meant "discontinued."
Collectors often speculate about reasons for the demise of official retirement dates but logic suggests Ty needed the flexibility to reintroduce successful older products. He did not want the reintroduction of a "retired" item to be perceived as a betrayal by collectors who had paid higher-than-retail prices to purchase the same "retired" item on the secondary market.
The demise of official retirement dates creates a problem for collectors and resellers alike who have a vested interest in knowing which Ty collectibles are discontinued. The only approximate way to determine the production status of a Ty collectible now is by watching which items disappear from the periodic Ty Retailer Catalogs.
Between the end of 2009 and 2016, tycollector.com attempted to assist collectors in determining whether or not a Ty product was still being manufactured by providing "off order dates" when they were made available by various authorized Ty retailers. "Off order" was frequently believed to mean the item had been discontinued because it could no longer be ordered. But that presumption turned out to be flawed.
It turned out that "off order" can also mean a product is late being shipped from China; that Ty has decided to stop accepting orders for seasonal items like current Halloween or Holiday items because they will be made available again next year; or they are taken "off order" for authorized Ty retailers to make them available to other select retailers like supermarket chains or overseas retailers.
"Off order" does not necessarily mean a product will become scarce. When Ty produces an exclusive item for a large retailer, the item changes to "off order" at Ty when it ships but that doesn't mean all of the retailers are out of them. The retailers may have ordered large volumes of those items that will be selling for years to come. For these reasons, tycollector.com no longer posts new alleged "off order" dates.
In a surprise development on April 29, 2013, Ty made an official retirement announcement for six of the Ty Beanie Boos. This announcement appeared at the official Ty Internet site and also at the Ty Facebook page. Ty intermittently followed that April announcement with more official announcements of Boo retirements. Unfortunately, the Boo retirement notices did not stipulated whether the retirements were for all sizes of each retired Boo, or just the regular size.
Since the surprise Beanie Boos "retirement" announcement in April 2013, Ty has not been consistant with subsequent announcements of individual plush retirements. Tycollector.com will attempt to post any retirement dates that are officially announced by Ty, and will indicated "retired" when items appear on the Ty official site as "retired," even though an official announcement was not made.