Central Bank Beanie Babies
By Staff News & Analysis - June 26, 2013

How Much Beanie Babies Were Predicted To Be Worth Vs. How Much They're Really Worth … The 1998 edition of the Scholastic Beanie Baby Handbook listed the original price of Beanie Babies when they were first released, how much they sold for in 1998, and their estimated price in 2008. Beanie Babies were supposed to be a good investment. From page 27 of the book: " Basically, if you can afford to do this, simply putting away five or ten of each and every new Beanie Baby in super mint condition isn't a bad idea." – BuzzFeed

Dominant Social Theme: Good Lord. I'm holding. This is just a retrenchment.

Free-Market Analysis: When the Beanie Baby craze hit, we went out and bought dozens of mint condition Beanie Babies.

Actually, we didn't.

Like many, we thought the craze was ludicrous. It was obviously a bubble of sorts and the only thing that was interesting was that it played out on national TV – certainly in the US.

At the time, there were bubbles all over the place. In houses, in art, in collectibles, generally, and … in Beanie Babies. Here's some more information on prices collected from various sources:

Stripes the Dark Tiger was estimated to be worth $1,000 in 2008. But today you can get it for $9.95.

Seaweed the Otter was estimated to be worth $60 in 2008. But today you can get it for $2.99.

Teddy the violet bear was estimated to be between $4,000 and $5,000 depending on which edition you had. And it might not be worth that much, but they can go for as high as $699.

We have our doubts about this last point. A feedbacker posting below the article points out that she'd recently packed up her aging Beanie Babies in a box and put them outside during a yard sale, hoping to give them away for free. By the end of the sale there had been no takers. Perhaps they weren't "mint"?

The larger moral of this tale is that fiat money inflates and high-powered money inflates absolutely. Nothing is immune to monopoly money printing and if you look closely at the Beanie Baby price collapse you may notice it mimics many other such collapses involving far more serious narratives.

In fact, we fail to see the difference between highly paid Wall Street pundits who were predicting higher housing prices at the beginning of 2007 and Beanie Baby mommies that may have been doing the same for their collectibles.

Both sets of prognosticators had been fooled by the business cycle and the overprinting of paper currency. Such trickery does not discriminate. It is an equal-opportunity con.

After Thoughts

Even an Alan Greenspan Beanie Baby would have lost value by now. Perhaps you couldn't give it away.

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