Beanie Babies

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Beanie Babies
Sizzle the Bear.JPG
Type Stuffed toy
Inventor (Ty Warner)
Company Ty Inc.[1]
Availability 1993-1999, 2000–present

Beanie Babies are a line of popular stuffed animals, made by Ty Warner Inc., which was later renamed as Ty Inc. in late 1993. Each toy has an inner "posable lining" and is stuffed with plastic pellets (or "beans") rather than conventional stuffing (see PVC and PE), giving Beanie Babies a flexible feel.

History[edit]

Nine original Beanie Babies 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 (with some tag errors with "Punchers") .[2][3]

In 1996, Ty Inc. released a new product called Teenie Beanies, a miniature offshoot of the original Beanie Babies line. They were sold alongside McDonalds Happy Meals.

Ty, Inc. stopped producing the product in 1999, but consumer demand led them to reconsider. Production restarted in 2000 with a Beanie Baby named "The Beginning."

In early 2008, Ty released a new version of Beanie Babies was called Beanie Babies 2.0. The purchase of a Beanie Baby 2.0 provided its owner with a code to access a Beanie Babies interactive website.

Collectibility[edit]

Beanie Babies began to emerge as popular collectibles in late 1995, and became a hot toy.[4] Ty systematically retired various designs, and many people assumed that all "retired" designs would rise in value the way that early retirees had. The craze lasted through 1999 and slowly declined after the Ty company announced that they would no longer be making Beanie Babies and made a bear called "The End".[5]

Design[edit]

Since the beginning, Beanie Babies have included two tags for identification: a heart-shaped "swing tag" at the top, and a fabric "tush tag" at the bottom. Both tags have been redesigned completely over time. Between 1994 and 1996, the swing tags had "To" and "From" blanks in them for use as gifts. Starting in early 1996, the tags include four-line poems related to the Beanie Baby, and a date of birth for the toy. The poem and birthday concept was created by Lina Trivedi who is credited as authoring the poems on the first 136 poems that were introduced to the marketplace.[6][7]

It was not uncommon for Beanie Babies to be accidentally shipped out with incorrect or misspelled tags, which sometimes increased the toy's value. On occasion, the poems, birth dates and even the names have been changed on certain Beanie Babies.[8]

Notable Beanie Babies[edit]

Garcia the bear[edit]

Garcia the bear was released in January 1996 and retired in May 1997. He is a tie-dyed bear that seems to be a tribute to Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead this bear was designed by Nicholas Scarbrough. A group of differently colored dancing bears, originally artwork from the back of an album cover, was one of the band's many iconic images. The guitarist and the bear share a birthday, but the bear was supposedly "born" the year that Jerry died (Aug 9, 1995). The fast retirement for this Beanie Baby was due to an alleged lawsuit that the Garcia family filed against the Ty company, claiming that the name "Garcia" was used without permission from the family. In cooperation with the lawsuit, Garcia was retired and a similar bear named Peace was released.

The bright colors on Garcia the bear made him one of the most popular Beanie Baby styles.[9]

Princess the bear[edit]

Decade the bear
Ty Copyright infringement. Photograph submitted to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on first page of the appendix. depicting Ty's Beanie Baby: "Squealer" (Top) and GMA's stuffed animal: "Preston the Pig" (Bottom)

Diana, Princess of Wales died on August 31, 1997. Warner announced the Beanie Baby Princess on October 29, 1997 in honor of Princess Diana.[10] Warner said that all proceeds would be donated to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. The Princess Diana Beanie Baby was sent to vendors to distribute in the second week of December 1997. Some vendors had to wait until February 1998. Only 12 Beanie Baby Princesses were released to each vendor initially, but this changed due to strong demand.

Decade the bear[edit]

Decade the bear was made in honor of Beanie Babies' tenth anniversary. Decade bears were made in white, royal blue, red, purple, orange, hot pink, green, gold, brown, and light blue. Most Decade bears have silver sparkles on their bodies.

Tabasco the bull[edit]

Named after tabasco sauce. The name was changed to Rabbi Sanchez to avoid trademark infringement.

Counterfeit Beanie Babies[edit]

Counterfeit Beanie Babies began to surface in 1997. Early on, cheap knock-offs and fakes of commons were widely available at discount prices.[11]

Cases[edit]

Authorities cracked down on counterfeit Beanie Babies in the late 1990s with some prosecuted for involvement in their commerce. In 1998, English authorities seized more than 6000 Princesses and Britannias.[12] In 1999, a Minnesota man was imprisoned, fined, and put on probation for involvement in smuggling counterfeit beanies.[13]

Media[edit]

During the wake of Beanie Babies' success, Beanie Baby-centric publications were issued. One of the largest was Mary Beth's Bean Bag World, a monthly magazine dedicated to Beanie Babies and competing plush toys. This magazine ran from 1997 to 2001.[14]

Competitors[edit]

Other plush toy lines were made in competition with Beanie Babies, including Puffkins. Another toy line, Meanies, was created as a satirical counterpart.

Licensed Beanies[edit]

In the late 2000s, Beanie Babies modeled after characters from popular children's franchises by Nickelodeon, DreamWorks and Paramount began appearing. These included characters from cartoons on the Nickelodeon television channel such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer, as well as characters from DreamWorks Animation movies such as Shrek the Third and 20th Century Fox's Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Beanie Babies have also been produced for characters from the Legend of the Guardians 2010 film and Guardians of Ga'Hoole book series.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Halbfinger, David M. (1999-03-12). "On the Trail of a Beanie Burglar". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Amy Carr (August 14, 1997). "Those Beanies are still hot, and there's no sign of the crazNe slowing down". Daily Herald. "Punchers the red lobster. Originally introduced in 1993, Punchers was redesigned in 1994 and renamed Pinchers." 
  3. ^ The Perfect Store: Inside eBay via Google Books
  4. ^ "Ty Beanie Baby Beanies News". Aboutbeanies.com. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  5. ^ "Ty Beanie Baby Beanies News". Aboutbeanies.com. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  6. ^ Wolkoff, Melanie (December 2000). "The Girl With The Midas Touch, What Lina Trivedi Touches Turns to Gold - Just Ask Ty Warner". Mary Beth's Bean Bag World (H&S Media Incorporated) 4 (3): 56–59. ISSN 1520-7005. 
  7. ^ Van West, Patricia E. (September 1999). "Lina Trivedi - The First Beanie Poet & Webmaster". Becky and Becky's Beanie Mania (Beanie Mania LLC) 2 (1): 42–43. ISSN 1099-4874. 
  8. ^ Dunne, Claudia; Sara Nelson (September 1998). "Tag Training 101". Mary Beth's Bean Bag World (H&S Media Incorporated) 1 (7): 20–28. ISSN 1097-0444. 
  9. ^ Peace Mania Magazine
  10. ^ "SUNDAY, JULY 5, 1998: CRIME; A World Gone Beanie Mad!". The New York Times. 1998-07-05. 
  11. ^ Date, SUSAN DODGE (1998-01-09). "Chicago Sun-Times:: Search". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  12. ^ http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-19416915.html
  13. ^ http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-62458632.html
  14. ^ "Want The 'Scoop' On The Beanie Industry For The Millennium?". PR Newswire. 1999-12-10. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 

External links[edit]