No More Beanie Baby Bubbles

Saturday, July 27, 2013
Posted in category Boom-Bubble Phenomenon

An article on Yahoo Finance revisits the early 1990s Beanie Baby craze, and one family that almost became bankrupt due to their collective zealotry.

Heralded as valuable collectibles, people would rush out to buy the $5.95 toys for their children or themselves, eagerly waiting for them to appreciate in value.

But then the Beanie Baby bubble burst.

As far as bubbles go, it wasn’t bad — at worst, most collectors were stuck with a few worthless stuffed animals they’d overpaid for.

Read this story about how the Robinson family not only blew $100k+ on an “investment” that never happened, but their entire lives were wasted on a venture that was far more addiction than investment vision. Whole weekends were spent tagging and organizing Beanie Baby inventory.

The first takeaway that most folks will have from this filmBankrupt by Beanies, is that the family made a bad investment call and sunk their dough into too many collectibles that didn’t appreciate. That notion is quickly dispelled by reading about the family members’ gonzo behavior, along with the inability to sell what they bought. Also, the father speaks to his “thrill” upon acquisition of each new stuffed animal, and he refers to the acquisition days as being “fun and exciting.” He notes that back in the day, he couldn’t understand why his wife and kids eventually grew weary of the family-hobby-to-nowhere.

The family is now stuck with a massive stockpile of unwanted fad toys. The Beanie Baby craze was just one small speck of lunacy that swept American culture as one fetish after another has become a beacon of civilization. The problem, however, was the boom-bubble “buy buy buy buy” mania that swept American culture, funded by easy credit (have pulse, will loan) that was enabled by government intervention and Federal Reserve policies. The video ends with this unfortunate statement:

The family still has between 15,000 and 20,000 beanie babies. But they admit despite how dire the circumstances are now, the beanie babies could come around again. “I guess we’ll see who’s crazy in 20 years,” the film ends.

Still, after 20 years, they have hope that the Beanie Baby lunacy will be reignited by some magical force. He waits and waits to hear from someone that he will cash out on a fixation that has long been six feet under. Unfortunately, the boom-bubble mentality breeds this kind of sentiment, as I have argued often. Inflationary policies have multiple social impacts that result in cultural carnage and ruined lives. Thanks to my sister, Christine DeCoster Sickler, for the link, as she remembers my position on this craze from 20 years ago. Follow me on Twitter @karendecoster.

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4 Responses to No More Beanie Baby Bubbles

  1. jeannie queenie says:

    July 28th, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Yep, right up there in the pantheon of crazy things crazy people buy…like Pet Rocks…hoolah hoops…. and then in 1951 the Paint by Number art for tards….”This is the perfect gift for the child of an overbearing, anal retentive father who wants his kid to express himself, but not too much that he won’t be able to tell what the hell his kid is painting.” Then we saw those dolls that wet themselves..and then just this past year the Transgender Barbie Doll….”here little Betsy, look how you can make your dolly go wee wee with this little attachment that looks like a weenie”.. yep, just like whining whacko Anthony’s (weiner).

  2. Wade says:

    July 28th, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    I guess that Beanie Babies set the stage for the dot.com craze — and I imagine that some people are still hoping that Cisco Systems gets back to it’s alltime high of $76 per share, set in March, 2000…but today, 13+ years later, it’s languishing at $25 per share

    it’s laughable that the private Federal Reserve thinks that they can stop booms and busts, but yet they are the ones who cause booms and busts…kinda like how the state tells us that they have to stick their hands in our pants to keep us safe from al qaeda, but yet they are the ones who funded al qaeda…but I digress

    oh yeah Karen, in closing, I can make you a good deal on a near mint 1964 Mickey Mantle baseball card — it’s sure to appreciate in the coming years!…lol

  3. Otaddy says:

    July 30th, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Ah, the late 90′s, those were the good ol’ days!  Everybody was making money on stocks and they all thought they were so smart.  Big houses, big cars, big attitudes.  

    But hey, let’s follow the advice given by the professionals:  buy and hold.  The price has got to go up sometime, right?  

  4. Tommy Udo says:

    July 30th, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    More recently, there have been those stupid stuffed birds. I knew women of mature years who bought hoards of them and left the price tags on, presumably convinced that they were some sort of investment. Pitiful.

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