Hold On, Is the Princess Diana Beanie Baby Really Worth Six Figures?
Here’s the story behind the bear that you’ve never heard.
Every now and then, a story about the tremendous worth of the Princess Diana Beanie Baby surfaces and causes people everywhere to fervently search their basements and attics for the prized bear. But while the public’s attention around the special toy might now solely revolve around how much cash they’re worth, the bear’s background story is equally fascinating.
The creation of the Diana bear came just two months after the death of the Princess of Wales on August 31, 1997. On October 29, 1997, Ty Inc. began selling the toys for $5-7, according to Vanity Fair. The proceeds were promised to go straight to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.
According to the Ty Collector website, each royal purple bear — appropriately named Princess — includes a small white rose on the left side of its chest and a touching poem printed on the heart-shaped tag attached to one ear that reads:
Like an angel she came from heaven above; she shared her compassion, her pain, her love; she only stayed with us long enough to teach the world to share, to give, to reach.
When retailers were told they could only purchase 12 bears at a time, many collectors began to believe the Princess Beanie Babies would be “limited edition.” This, of course, added to the already-growing Beanie Baby hype at the time. The bear soon became a must-have for collectors and the People’s Princess fans alike. As demand for the bear increased though, PopSugar reports that Ty began making more, which ended up driving down the worth of each toy. When Ty officially stopped production of the bear in April 1999, the company ended up donating an estimated $21,880,000 to Diana’s foundation.
Today, the asking price of a Princess Diana Beanie Baby varies dramatically. More realistic sellers ask for $2-30 a bear depending on its condition and what kind of pellets are inside (which collectors claim can indicate when and where the bear was made).
Some, however, have taken to eBay in high hopes of selling these “rare” bears for upwards of tens — or even hundreds — of thousands. One couple in the U.K., for example, made headlines for allegedly finding a first-edition purple bear at a local flea market and tried to sell it for approximately $37,000, according to Yahoo. Another on the site is trying to get a buyer to fork over a whopping $507,000.
Ambitious sellers like the above are why people see stories pop up occasionally about the Princess Diana Beanie Baby being worth six figures. But the truth is . they’re not, and experts say there really is no “magic number” you can put on their worth. Further, many of the eBay sellers online simply copy other listings without providing evidence that they’re actually first edition.
“When you see $507,000, that’s not credible because you have to find a sales record for someone (who) actually paid the bill for that,” antiques appraiser Lori Verderame told USAToday.com. “They [the sellers] aren’t gonna tell you what it’s really worth because they want you to buy it for the highest price possible.”
Still, it’s undeniable that Princess is Ty’s most popular animals, even decades after the ’90s Beanie Baby craze. Like Diana, the toy seems to have a powerful nostalgic force that will live on forever.