Ty Beanies

Written by Will Baum
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Ty Beanies were an instant sensation when they were introduced in the early 1990s. Ty Inc. founder Ty Warner drew his inspiration from a trip to Italy, where he saw children playing with small, plush cats. There was nothing like them in the U.S. at the time.

Warner started Ty Inc. with a line of ten, inexpensive plush cats. Beanie Babies soon followed. Beanies were affordable, within the range of children's allowance money. They were small and they were soft. They had cute names (Peanuts the Elephant, Bessie the Cow, Quackers the Duck). It seems simple enough.

Ty Beanies Get Retired

Initially distributed only through small gift shops, Beanies created a frenzy as parents battled to get them for their kids. (This phenomenon inspired the mediocre Arnold Schwartzenegger comedy, "Jingle All The Way.") Bonuses inside Ty Inc. were reported to be huge.

Ty Warner knew how to fuel the fire. Ty Inc. began to "retire" lines of Beanies, replacing them with new Beanies. Soon, retired Ty Beanies were worth several times their initial pricetags. Today, some are worth upwards of $1000. "Our name brand will not go away," Warner has been quoted as saying. "We want to be the Coke of collectibles." The Internet is an excellent place to track down Ty Beanies and other Ty Inc. creatures.

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