7 Times The Beanie Baby Craze Went Way Further Than Any Of Us Realized
How much of your money did you spend on Beanie Babies? Be honest. More than you'd like to admit right?
As much as a lot of us loved our Beanie Babies, there was a limit. Sure, I put my favorites in plastic boxes to keep them from getting dust on them, and okay, of course I put on a tag protector, I'm not a monster. But if even that sounds excessive to you, then boy, are you unprepared for what's coming up.
People put a lot of effort into their Beanie Baby collections in the 90s. I mean, we were all believers of that crazy lie that claimed that Beanie Babies were going to be worth a large amount of money, but some people took it to the next level. You may have thought that you were going all out, but apparently we didn't hit the peak levels of obsession.
So anytime you get embarrassed by your Beanie Baby obsession, I want you to remember these people:
Beanie Babies in Divorce Court
This is perhaps the most 90s thing to have ever happened. This photo shows a couple who were in divorce court trying to split up their assets, including their Beanie Baby collection that was valued between $2,500 - $5,000 at the time.
Apparently Maple Bear was the first to be chosen, but you can see a bunch of the familiar Beanie Babies in there, and even a few repeats of the popular ones.
Looking back now, I wonder if that couple thinks that it was work it.
Beanie Babies Bankruptcy
Chris Robinson thought his Beanie Baby collection would pay for his children's college tuition, instead his collection still sits in his garage, rendered mostly worthless.
Robinson started collecting Beanie Babies when they started coming out, and spent over $100,000 on the toys. He had hoped their value would increase to the point that he could pay for his children to go to college but instead it bankrupted him.
The problem wasn't that they purchased so many, but instead that they didn't sell them before the values plummeted. Now, even his "extremely rare" Beanie Babies would sell for only a few dollars on eBay.
He is holding onto his collection though, in hopes that one day their values skyrocket back up. Good luck!
As crazy as those were, that's not the only dramatic incident caused by a Beanie Baby...
Border Security Beanie Babies
Laws needed to be changed in order to accommodate the growing Beanie Baby market. When Beanie Babies were introduced, there seemed to be an increase in people jumping the border to go pick up some exclusive Canadian versions, but the limit was one Beanie Baby per person.
That's right, if you went on a big trip to go pick up Erin the Bear or the exclusive Canadian polar bear you could only pick up one. People would obviously want to pick up a bunch for their friends and family, and retailers would want to be able to sell the Canadian exclusives to their clients so there was a lot of smuggling.
They started finding Beanie Babies in the places that are normally reserved for drugs, like the spare tire holders and in the hidden compartments.
They had to amend the laws and increase the limit from one to 30 Beanie Babies per person, as long as you didn't have more than three of the same one. There was also a limit as to how often you can go over the border. You could only go once every 30 days to get more of those cute little guys.
Imagine going into a U.S. Customs warehouse and seeing hundreds of Beanie Babies just locked up? What a weird world we live in.
Beanie Babies Lead To Murder Charges
Not only were people smuggling the Beanie Babies, they were going absolutely insane over them.
At a store in West Virginia in 1999, a 29-year-old man, Jeffrey White, shot and killed a security guard while waiting in line outside of a Hallmark store.
They were waiting for a shipment of Beanie Babies to arrive but White went after the security guard because they had known each other before the Beanie Baby craze, and the tensions were heightened because of the late shipment.
Beanie Babies seemed to control the market for a few years, and people's obsessions hit a scary level...
Beanie Baby Budgets
The Ward family had to curb their habit because they were spending hundreds of dollars on the little toys. They finally got it down to a "reasonable" $500 a month. Yeah. That was what they called "under control."
"It's better than gambling or drugs, right?" Dave Ward said. "And we have it under control now. We only spend $500 a month on Beanies."
Their home was filled with the stuffed animals, and their daughter, Kris, would buy them clothes and outfits and dress them all up.
Hopefully they found good homes for all of their little buddies.
Beanie Baby Break-In
Beanie Babies inspired a lot of crimes apparently, including the fact that a woman's car was broken into because she had a retired Beanie Baby on her dash.
We know that we aren't supposed to keep valuable items in plain sight, but never in a million years would I have thought that a stuffed animal would be popular enough to make someone break into a vehicle.
A store owner named Mr. Marks said, 'I had one customer who told me her car was broken into because she had a retired Beanie Baby sitting on the dashboard. The thieves didn't touch the radio.''
Beanie Baby Bait and Switch
While you may be used to hearing about fake purses and knockoff designer clothes, you may be surprised to learn that even Beanie Babies got all caught up in the counterfeit market.
The first counterfeit Beanie Babies found were the pig known as Grunt, but he wouldn't be the last. There were so many different fakes on the market.
People would even dye the light blue version of Peanut the elephant to the royal blue color because it was more rare, but obviously they weren't legit. One woman who described herself as a "Beanie Doctor" was repairing one of those false Peanuts when she noticed the crusty exterior.
"The blue dye came right off," Beanie Doctor Lu Venia, said. ''I felt terrible telling that collector that she got a rotten Peanut."
The Beanie Baby bubble may have burst, rendering an entire generation of us completely disappointed in our savings plans, but at least we can say that we didn't get in THIS deep, right?
What kind of Beanie Baby collection were you the proud owner of? Personally, I had well over 100 Beanies, and while I wish they were worth something now, at least I had fun collecting them!
Sources - Huffington Post/ Quartz / Seattle Times / Baltimore Sun / Philadelphia Inquirer / NY Times / NY Times