Barbie, Beanie Babies and the Decline of Children’s Collectible Toys

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Historically children’s toys have always been collectible, though some more than others. Every decade has seen the emergence of a particular children’s toy that has gone on to be popular.

Some old kid’s toys are valuable today, especially if they are part of a completed collection and many are highly sought after.

Collectible toys often go through strange phases, make comebacks and occasionally become passing fads. Over the past few decades there have been a slew of kid’s toys on the market that have exceeded expectations.

Many of these toys have gone on to become popular and successful and are considered to be collectibles. These and can fetch a tidy sum of money at some auctions and sales.

Some of the companies responsible for these toys include Ty Inc., Hasbro, Carte Blanche Greetings Ltd. and Mattel. Toys manufactured by these companies include My Little Pony, Beanie Babies and Me To You bears.

Soft toys and dolls have also proven collectible, with teddy bears and porcelain dolls still popular today. Maybe this links to infancy when soft toys acted as comfort objects for children.

Here are two of the most popular collectibles from the past few decades.

Beanie Babies

Beanie Babies became a worldwide phenomenon in the late 1990’s. Company Ty Inc. first released Beanie Babies in late 1993, but it wasn’t until 1997 when they became popular.

The company have even released ranges to coincide with popular cultural or sporting events. For example there was a special Beanie Baby released to coincide with the launch of a new Mastercard.

There was also a FIFA World Cup collection in the mid 2000’s, with the toys sporting flags from each of the competing nations.

During the late 1990’s and early 2000’s Beanie Baby counterfeits came onto the market. This may have led to an eventual downturn in the toy’s popularity.

Today Beanie Babies are still in existence, though their popularity has somewhat decreased. Despite this, many Beanie Babies are more valuable than they were upon release. Some have even sold for several thousand dollars.


Barbie was one of the original heavyweights of the toy industry. First introduced to the world back in 1959 Barbie took the world by storm. It seemed every little girl wanted one of the fashion dolls and they have sold well through the decades.

Barbie is manufactured by Mattel, Inc. and is a figurehead brand for the organisation. There have even been accessories and jewellery lines released for Barbie dolls.

The toy has become a cultural icon in America and worldwide. In fact it seems that the only market which hasn’t taken to Barbie dolls is China. Though this week, Mattel re-released the doll in Asia and will be hope for a better reception from the lucrative Chinese market.

We are unlikely to see collectible toys nowadays reach the popular heights of Barbie and Beanie Babies. But  the toy market in the UK and the USA continues to thrive. Perhaps in two decades time people will look back at the toys of today as being collectibles.


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