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Will Beanie Baby Craze Return?

A few weeks ago, Ty Corporation announced that all Beanie Babies will be retired on the last day of 1999.

CBS News Saturday Morning's collectibles expert Tony Hyman gives the future outlook for Beanie Babies.

Ty Corporation started with only nine Beanie Babies selling them in gift shops and various other places, but not in toy stores.

When Ty introduced them, they were very inexpensive, less than $5. Then as McDonald's brought out the tiny toys, the whole idea was introduced to the mass market.

People fought like crazy to get from McDonald's these tiny toys. McDonald's was not prepared for the onslaught and neither was Ty. As a result people started to buy the old toys.

In 1997, everybody wanted them for their kids at Christmas. This continued through 1998 as Ty began to introduce new characters and the prices continued to shoot up.

In mid-1998, people began to realize that some were offering $2,000 for a Beanie Baby that they had just bought for $5. The market began to see more sellers than buyers, and prices started to retreat.

Ty has introduced many new characters over the last few years that still have some value. One is a little tie-dyed bear. It is alleged that musician Jerry Garcia was unhappy when Ty originally introduced it, with the name Garcia. Ty added a peace symbol and called it Peace the Bear.

Other important dolls were introduced, including a series sold abroad. And one of the most significant babies is the bear issued at a Yankees game. The Yankees did a promotion, like many others have, but at this particular game David Wells threw a perfect game. It was worth $7 when the game started and is worth $150 to $200 today. Keep the card because otherwise it is just an ordinary bear.

Disney and Warner Brothers' Beanie dolls may become hot collectibles.

Disney and Warner Brothers have introduced a hot new toy called the Beanie doll. And these dolls will probably be more collectible then Ty's Beanie Babies in the long haul.

Finally there are promotional dolls. Everybody recognizes Taco Bell, Oscar Myer and M&Ms. These dolls are going up in price as well; with the Merrill Lynch doll becoming one of the most popular. The others are only worth about $15, while the Merrill Lynch doll is worth about $150 to $200.

Since Ty is going to discontinue making Beanie Babies, experts are predicting that prices will rise but not to the heights of 1998.

For more information on Beanie Babies, contact Shawn Brecka, author of The Bean Family Pocket Guide. Brecka's email address is

Find out about other collectibles described b CBS News Saturday Morning's Tony Hyman in the Collectibles Archive. Or visit Tony Hyman's Web site.

If you think you have a collectible worth a lot of cash, send an email to Put "What's It Worth?" in the subject line, or write to "What's It Worth?" CBS News Saturday Morning, 514 West 57th St., 6th floor, New York, N.Y. 10019.

Becasue of the volume of mail received, Saturday Morning can't respond to all requests, but some will be selected and featured on the program in the near future.

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