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Beanie Babies by Brooke Keane

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About This Gigapan

Taken by
Brooke Keane Brooke Keane
Explore score
0.07 Gigapixels
Date added
Apr 26, 2010
Date taken
Apr 26, 2010

Pouch the kangaroo was my first Beanie Baby. My grandmother bought him for me one day at our local Hallmark store when I was about 9 or 10.
As she walked around the store looking at cards, I picked up probably every Beanie Baby on the shelf, carefully holding it and putting it down until I picked up Pouch. Knowing I wouldn't leave the store without it, I found my grandmother and asked if she'd buy it for me. Since she almost never said no to me, she bought it without a second thought. Little did she know she was contributing to what would become a complete Beanie Baby craze.
Less than a year after I got Pouch, the Ty Beanie Baby craze of the late 90s blew the doors of every Hallmark and hobby shop wide open, and I was swept right into it. All in all I accumulated around 100 Ty Beanie Babies (there are 86 in the photo, I couldn't find some of them) in every animal from a seahorse, to a scorpion and I even have a dragon, a unicorn, a firefly and a snowgirl, just to name a few of the more unique ones. Most of them given to me by my grandmother or my mother, who I think got into collecting them just as much as I did.
We made weekly, sometimes daily trips to Hallmark to see if a new shipment had come in, and would even occasionally be tipped off about new shipments. We were constantly on the lookout for new styles and bears in particular.
The bears were the most sought after of all of the Beanie Babies. Of my collection, I think over 20 of them are bears. Among the more popular and more difficult ones to find, I managed to get my hands on the Princess Diana bear; Erin, the Irish bear and Halo, the angel bear. Each time I found one of these bears, I would be completely ecstatic, only to go home and put it in a plastic case.
In fact, I never really “played” with any of my Beanie Babies, I just collected them. They were cute, and fun to look at, but the joy wasn't in looking at them, it was in finding the ones that were hard to find. The hunt, if you will. I never really thought of myself as a hunter, but I've definitely hunted bears in my life.
My Beanie Baby fever only worsened when McDonald's and Ty paired up to put miniature Beanie Babies in Happy Meals. This move also flared my McDonald's addiction and childhood obesity, but I had to have those cute mini Beanie Babies. The first round of Happy Meal beanies I hastily ripped from their packaging, until I realized during the second round that keeping them in the packaging would make them more valuable. I ended up with probably 30 McDonald's Happy Meal Beanie Babies.
During the peak of their popularity, certain special Beanie Babies (bears in particular) were being sold for thousands of dollars, some of these high priced toys were ones that I owned. I figured, if nothing else, they were an investment.
Turns out, they're not. I checked e-bay recently to see how much some of the pieces of my childhood collection were going for and I found most of them priced at 99 cents. I think I'll just hold onto them in case Beanie Babies have another surge in popularity.
Plus, I've gotten kind of attached to some of them. Claude the crab is one of those. He was only the second one I got. He was tie-dyed and came from Cracker Barrel, probably on a return trip home from vacation. The reason I'm more attached to him than the others is because I will never forget the poem printed on the inside of his swing tag. It read: Claude the crab paints by the sea/A famous artist he hopes to be/But the tide came in and his paints fell/Now his art is on his shell.
Maybe not quite a priceless collector's item, but still pretty cute nonetheless.

Check out another of my childhood collections: gigapan.org/gigapans/48357/.

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