It is with great hesitation that I release one of my darkest secrets from my childhood. Like any other child that was influenced by his/her time, I was a sucker for beanie babies. That’s right. Laugh all you want. Go on, get it out. If you want to know the truth, it wasn’t really about the toys. Believe it or not (and I know many of you may not believe me), I was primarily interested in them because I saw them as a great investment opportunity. Here’s a brief explanation of why I thought it was a great investment.
Beanie Babies as an Investment?
If you don’t know anything about beanie babies, consider yourself the lucky one. I was in elementary school (and maybe middle school as well) when they were popular. Beanie babies are small collectible stuffed animals. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different types of them. The best part about them at the time was that they were in huge demand!
There were some that were more difficult to get your hands on because there were less of them produced than others. For example, the bears were usually the most valuable and rare. Better yet, they had names to distinguish them from each other. I used to know many of these by heart and would have an estimate value for the popular ones in my head.
If I have still failed to convey how “hot” these glorified paperweights were, let me paint a picture. I remember, on a couple of different occasions, standing in a long line to get a chance at finding the rare beanie babies. In fact, imagine those horror stories of people mauling others down on black friday but only a couple degrees less severe. People would wait for the doors to open for the chance to flood into the store to find the rare beanie baby that was missing from their collection before anyone else had the chance.
Last, but not least, I should also point out the condition of the beanie babies mattered. Oh, did it ever! Most of the serious collectors had them stored in plastic bags if not in a glass display case. I may or may not have had both. The beanie babies also had tags which were extremely vulnerable to wear and tear. Rest assured, they invented tag covers. Plastic covers that in the shape of a heart to protect the paper tags. God forbid that you get a crease on your tag! It actually did matter. Any sign of wear would significantly lower the value.
How Much Money Did I Make?
Over a short period of time, my collection grew. I had only a few of the rare bears, but I did have a few. The average collector was lucky if he/she had one. I took great care of mine (as I hinted above) and looked to making a fortune. The sad fact of the matter is the I missed the opportunity. I drowned with the sinking ship, so to speak. As many of you now know, beanie babies are no longer popular.
My initial investment as a pre-teen and teenager proved to be a huge failure. My hundreds of dollars that I invested in hope for a great return has earned me a big fat zero. Actually, it has left me with boxes of cloth animal-shaped things. In fact, my parents recently discovered these boxes in my old bedroom closet and gave me a window of time to dispose of these worthless items.
Best Investment Advice
So, after all these years of waiting for beanie babies to come back into demand to be able to cash in on my huge investment, have I learned my lesson? Absolutely. If someone were to ask me the best tip of advice for a young person, I would advise them to avoid investing in a fad. Invest in something that will logically stay around for some time. Make sure that the popularity makes sense and don’t jump on the bandwagon just because everyone else is. Think about the many fads the have come and gone. The most recent one that stands out to be are the animal bracelets called “Silly Bandz.” This makes me think back to slap bracelets, where you would have a ruler-like toy that could wrap around your wrist once you slap it against your skin.
What Fads Have Come and Gone? Do you have any investment skeletons in your closet?
*featured image provided by: Dominique Godbout