Beanie Babies: When’s the Best Time to Sell Your Princess Diana?
With the coronation of King Charles coming up this weekend and last week’s release of Netflix’s King of Collectibles, now is the time to evaluate your selling strategy for that Beanie Babies collection you have stored in your house.
You can learn a lot from the professional Beanie Baby expert sourced by the Goldin auction house and featured in King of Collectibles. In the first episode of the show, a collector is interested in seeing how much his Beanie Babies toy collection is worth. He turns his perfectly packaged collection over to Goldin Auctions LLC to get some answers. As any good auction house would do, they rely on a top expert to establish a value — Dr. Lori Verderame is called in to give an estimate as to what these Beanie Babies might be worth on the open market. Dr. Lori is an American appraiser of antiques, collectibles and fine art, and has appeared on numerous news and TV shows as an expert in her field.
Here are a few things we learned when it comes to the Princess Di plush bear and Beanie Babies collections:
1. PVC Pellets Vs. P.E.?
Those small plastic pebbles that make up your prized Beanie are important. In 1993 Ty Inc. introduced the world to their Babies — each with a unique name and birthdate on its ear tag, but it wasn’t until really 1995 that the toy became a cultural phenomenon. All of those Beanies are purposely floppy and understuffed. The original nine Beanie Babies that were launched in 1993 — Legs the Frog, Squealer the Pig, Spot the Dog, Flash the Dolphin, Splash the Whale, Chocolate the Moose, Patti the Platypus, Brownie the Bear (later renamed Cubbie) and Pinchers the Lobster — are still valuable. But when it comes to the original pellets, that makes a difference, because in 1998 Ty stopped using the PVC pellets, and they were replaced with polyethylene pellets (P.E.). This can mean the difference of having one that is worth hundreds of dollars to basically nothing. Now, when it comes to the Princess Diana Beanie, which was introduced in October of 1997, due to the high demand, Ty eventually increased the production of the toy, creating newer versions that were made with the P.E. pellets, which essentially made those less valuable. The originals are the ones you want.
2. Condition Matters
When factoring in the value of almost anything, obviously, the condition of the item definitely matters. Dr. Lori walks through the different factors she is looking for in order to determine the value of each specific Beanie Baby she reviews. She begins by smelling the toy, stating, “If you can smell it, you can’t sell it.” Apparently, no stinky toys are wanted! Oddly enough that makes some sense. You need to do a prop test, too. Dr. Lori sets the toy on top of a case that it was stored in to see the posture of the Beanie Baby. The Princess Diana plush toy she examines during the show slouches its shoulders. Dr. Lori says although it is problematic, it is not a major problem. Basically, your Babies need good posture. Didn’t your mom always tell you to sit up straight!? A bigger problem, however, is the positioning of the eyes. This may seem like a minor detail, but many of the original Beanie Babies were created with eyes that are a little off-center (you want your Babies looking straight on).
3. Timing Matters
If you are looking to sell your original Princess Diana Beanie Baby, the time of year you pick is critical. Princess Diana passed away on Aug. 31, 1997. The anniversary of her death often triggers higher sales. Dr. Lori explains that today (not August), the toy is worth around $500 if it is an original and in good condition. However, in August, the price spikes; for example, Lori shared that in August of 2022 the Beanie sold for around $2,500. This was also the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death. Any time the royals are in the news, you have a better chance to yield a higher profit.
4. Tags & Mishaps
Other helpful insights from varying souces remind collectors that mistakes on the ear tag or tush tags and scarcity sometimes equate to more money. For example, the red bull named Tabasco released in 1995, whose name was forced into early retirement to avoid lawsuits from the company that makes Tabasco sauce, was replaced by Snort. Some people have Tabasco on eBay for over $2,000, while others list it for $20 (look at the generation).
Our takeaway: If you have a Princess Diana Beanie Baby you may want to hold on to it until August.