The Great Beanie Baby Bubble (Zac Bissonnette)

Article by marycatherine

I received my first Beanie Baby on December 1, 1997. It was my 8th birthday and I was home sick from school, so my dad had flowers delivered to our house. Nestled in the bouquet? Quackers the Duck. If the speculative hype of the following year were correct, I would now be independently wealthy due to the great fortune I amassed chasing beanie plush investment glory. Considering that I work in a bookstore and Quackers now lives in a box in my mom's attic, the Beanie bubble, like the concurrent Internet bubble, burst in the most spectacular way possible. 


Thankfully, my parents didn't put all their send-me-to-college eggs in the same Beanie basket, but that's not the case for many crazed collectors. Stories of total financial ruin are certainly one of the most voyeristically intriguing parts of THE GREAT BEANIE BABY BUBBLE, but perhaps even more compelling is the biographical portrait of the obsessive creator of the toys, Ty Warner. An egomaniacal, abusive control freak with a plastic surgery addiction and traumatic childhood isn't perhaps what you'd expect from a stuffed animal tycoon...then again, nothing about Beanie Babies was what anyone expected. How did sales of $5 stuffed animals total $1.4 billion in a single year? How were thousands of people convinced that items produced in quantities of millions were rare? Why did women keep dating Ty Warner? You may have these questions and more when you travel back to that mysterious time when Y2K was looming, the World Wide Web was the new frontier, and understuffed royal blue elephant bean bags were bought and sold for $10,000.

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