How Much Is the Princess Diana Beanie Baby Worth?
Don't believe the rumors about these little bears being worth gobs and gobs of money.
We’re approaching what would have been the 61st birthday of Diana, Princess of Wales. She was born on July 1, 1961, and died tragically on August 31, 1997. As both anniversaries neared last year, people everywhere were memorializing, theorizing and even showing off merch related to the People’s Princess. Even decades later, there’s still so much hype surrounding nearly every aspect of Princess Diana’s death and her life as a whole. Certain physical items represent a microcosm of the public’s obsession with her: everything from the Spencer tiara to a little purple stuffed bear.
Beanie Babies are already notorious for going for immense sums of money. So what of the royal purple Princess the Bear, released shortly after her death? How much is the Princess Diana Beanie Baby worth? Plus, here are some things you didn’t know about the Princess Diana funeral.
Are Beanie Babies valuable?
You’ve probably heard buzz about Beanie Babies popping up on eBay for astronomical prices…but what they’re selling for and what they’re worth are two vastly different things. Making Beanie Babies seem rare and valuable was always part of the marketing scheme behind them, explains Judith Katz-Schwartz, Appraisal Expert on JustAnswer.com. The Ty company “would say, ‘We only made 12 of these, and we’re only letting your retailer have two,’ so the line would start at 4 a.m.,” she explains. “So that’s how they bumped up prices.”
It may have been a brilliant strategy back in the day, but the market is constantly changing. Beanie Babies just aren’t in demand like this anymore. Once the fad was over, their value dropped, rather than skyrocketing as many people think. “I see piles of [Beanie Babies] at flea markets, and they…go for two, three dollars apiece,” says Katz-Schwartz. So while some are still listed online for huge prices, more likely than not, people generally aren’t buying them for these high prices—certainly not people who know that their value is not really that high. “People can ask for whatever [amount] they want—it’s what the thing actually sells for that is the market value,” Katz-Schwartz explains. So, they’re not among the ranks of these childhood toys that are worth thousands.
The Princess Diana Beanie Baby
Beanie Babies were experiencing their heyday in the late 1990s. About two months after Princess Diana’s death, in October 1997, Ty announced that they were commemorating her with a special-edition plush, with proceeds benefitting the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. Their release began in December of that year. Deep purple with a white rose and a purple ribbon around her neck, the princess Beanie Baby’s name was “Princess the Bear.” Ty claimed that retailers were only going to get 12 bears each—but that changed due to their huge popularity and more were produced. So, no, they’re not the rarest of the rare when it comes to collectibles, by any means. Katz-Schwartz says that we’ll never know exactly how many the Ty company made, but it’s in the thousands, not the tens.
There are two different types of Princess Diana Beanie Baby—the rarer, earlier batch was made with PVC pellets, while most of the Princess Bears out there use polyethylene pellets. You can identify a “PVC Princess Bear” by the “tush tag” reading “P.V.C. Pellets.” But these still sell for non-eye-popping prices.
RELATED: Princess Diana’s Most Memorable Moments in Photos
Princess Diana Beanie Baby value
Case in point: On eBay, you can find a princess Beanie Baby listed for $665,000 right next to one with a $12.50 winning bid (as of this writing). Both descriptions say that they’re “super rare” and mention PVC. There’s not really an objective worth at play here.
That’s not to say that they never sell for big money—Princess Diana Beanie Babies have occasionally been confirmed to fetch $1,000 or even $10,000. But most of the time, people aren’t spending an entire fortune on them.
“People buy for nostalgia purposes. That’s why they buy collectibles,” Katz-Schwartz says. And, of course, nostalgia and fads depend on the times. There is a possibility that the Princess Diana Beanie Baby value went up around the anniversary of her birth or death, especially since a big birthday, her 60th, just passed, and the People’s Princess is likely in the public’s minds and hearts more than usual. But it still probably won’t go up to, say, six figures; it’ll likely just see a bit of a bump as demand and interest increase. But if you’re hoping to try to sell a Princess Diana Beanie Baby, this summer—the 25th anniversary of her death—will probably be the best time.
Whether you’re relieved by the truth about the Princess Diana Beanie Baby value or bummed, now you know not to believe the hype about bazillion-dollar beanbag bears. Alas, there are much less innocuous myths surrounding Diana’s death.
- Judith Katz-Schwartz, Appraisal Expert on JustAnswer.com
- USA Today: “How much is the Princess Diana Beanie Baby worth? Sadly, not $500,000”
- Mental Floss: “The 10 Most Valuable Beanie Babies That Could Be Hiding in Your Attic”
- scura: “Collectibles and Bankruptcy: Keep Your Hands off My Princess Diana Beanie Baby”