There are some strange things in the world that are worth a lot of money. Beanie Babies are one of those things, ranging from less than five dollars to tens of thousands apiece. Collectors value the cute and cuddly critters for their loveable features and resale value.
If you happen to have Pinchers the Lobster sitting on a shelf with his tags intact, then you're sitting on a toy that could pay your rent and more depending on where you live.
Why is Pinchers So Special
If you're not an avid reader of the Beanipedia, then you probably don't know the details of the Beanie Babies history. Pinchers was one of the original nine Babies. Sadly, not all Pinchers are created equal.
It's all about the Tush Tag, the small piece of fabric on the back that tells you what material they're made from and has the age restriction printed on them. Because of the plastic eyes, most Beanie Babies are only suggested for kids who are ages three and up.
Plastic parts are a choking hazard for small children and should never be given to them for play. Pinchers was made from bright red fabric. He has two small, shiny, black eyes. With the claws and tail of a lobster, and his string antennae he's a perfect little toy for a child who loves the ocean. It's no surprise that he was so popular from the moment of his first sale.
The first generation of Tush Tags is very simple black printing on a white tag. It wasn't until later iterations that the fabric tags with the creature names were added. Most first-generation tags have five lines and say they are made in China. A rarer Tush Tag from Korea has only four lines and is missing the "Machine Washable" designation. Naturally, the more unusual tags are worth more.
The First Beanies
The original Nine Beanie Babies were released in 1993 at New York Citie's World Toy Fair. The thing that made these toys unique was their stuffing. Instead of using the standard fluff, the creators used plastic pellets which they called "beans," hence the name Beanie Babies. Each Beanie Baby has a name and birth date.
They also have retirement dates which are not printed on their tags and style numbers. The first two ever shown to the public were known as Brownie and Punchers, and they were the bear and crab beanies. This too makes them more valuable models to own.
All Nine Originals
- Cubbie, The Bear
- Original DOB: November 14, 1993 (Brownie)
- Retired: December 31, 1997
- Style Number: 4010
- Pinchers The Lobster
- Original DOB: June 19, 1993 (Punchers)
- Retired: May 1, 1998
- Style Number: 4026
- Chocolate The Moose
- Original DOB: April 27, 1993
- Retired: December 31, 1998
- Style Number: 4015
- Squealer The Pig
- Original DOB: April 23, 1993
- Retired: May 1, 1998
- Style Number: 4005
- Splash The Whale
- Original DOB: July 8, 1993
- Retired: May 11, 1997
- Style Number: 4022
- Flash The Whale
- Original DOB: May 13, 1993
- Retired: May 11, 1997
- Style Number: 4021
- Legs The Frog
- Original DOB: April 25, 1993
- Retired: October 1, 1997
- Style Number: 4020
- Spot The Dog (No Spot)
- Original DOB: January 3, 1993
- Retired: April 13, 1994
- Style Number: 4000
- Patti The Platypus (Deep Fuchsia)
- Original DOB: January 6, 1993
- Retired: 1993
- Style Number: 4025
Should you be so fortunate as to find Punchers the lobster, he is even more valuable. The tags may be a misprint, and this variation of the first generation tags is so rare it's almost impossible to find.
If you flip a label on a little red lobster and see that name, you have something special in your hands. Other than the name on the tag, Punchers is identical to Pinchers in every way.
There's also a 'long antennas' version of Pinchers that is rarer than some iterations. Who would have thought that a little extra string could make such a difference in the value of a child's toy?
There are also misprinted tag versions worth more than other 'perfect' copies. A version without a birthdate has appeared a few times, but collectors snap them up very quickly. It's the little differences that make a toy exceptional and add value to them.
After the first 1-3 generations, which all had (at least some) first-generation Tush Tags and Heart Tags (known as Swing Tags) things began to change for the Beanie Babies.
They were gaining popularity with every release. For example, the fourth generation Moose was one of the first times a Beanie Baby had a poem on its heart tag. It also mentioned that his favorite treat is chocolate. Sadly, once you get further away from the first BB's they decrease in value, though they remain adorable and cuddly.
Later Pinchers Poem
The sweet little poems that tell you a little bit about each Beanie Baby give them extra personality. They were a nice addition after the third generation. The company's success obviously impacted their manufacturing process. While it may seem like nothing to add a few words when you multiply it by millions of toys, the cost of some extra ink and paper adds up quickly.
- This lobster loves to pinch
- Eating his food inch by inch
- Balancing carefully with his tail
- Moving forward slow as a snail!
Most Pinchers aren't worth a whole lot, but if you score one of the rare ones you are holding a piece of Beanie History. Not to mention, you'll have a tidy sum in your pocket if you're willing to part with the sweet little lobster toy. $10,000 is nothing to sneeze at, but as any toy collector can tell you, there are other things to consider.
If you got a Pinchers in 1993, it might have serious sentimental value for you. Additionally, the longer you hold on to an undamaged original, the higher the value. Have you ever had one of the Original Nine Beanie Babies? Let us know in the comments.
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Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker