The first Beanie Babies were introduced to the world in late 1993
at the World Toy Fair in New York City, these first nine would become known
as the "Original Nine." These beanies were a new style plush all together,
instead of the typical stuffing that accompanied most plush toys these had
a combination of 'beans' and stuffing. The 'beans' or small plastic
gave these plush a new uniqueness. You could now make your animal
sit up in various posable positions. The critics were skeptical, some even
nicknamed them, "Road Kill," due to being under-stuffed and filled with beans.
Ty's strategy was simple, aim for quality with a toy that was simple
with few details. Each beanie had a few colors of fabric with a few facial
details. In fact the beanie named Spot was first introduced without a spot!
(Trying to save money on fabric costs? The world will never know!)
Each of these new creations were accompanied by a hang tag, that unlike
today's locket style tags, it consisted of what is today called a 1st, generation
hang tag. It was a single double-sided Ty tag with a smaller Ty on the front
and the animal's name and style number on the back. Poems had not yet been
introduced. They also had a white sewn-in 'tush' tag with black lettering.
Most of these original beanies had their tags removed, as was recommend by
toy manufactures, when giving the toy to small children. At the time they
were not thought of as collectors items. (Yes they were actually given to
children to play with!) So beanies with these tags are rare and valuable
So who were these 'Original Nine' beanies? Who were these first beanies
to cause a mad craze worldwide? Who were these first beanies that caused
hundreds of crazed fans to stalk mail carriers, stand in line for hours before
sunrise, counterfeit beanies for profit, and start a whole new breed of avid
collectors? Who were these under-stuffed plush toys that would lead to the
building of "an empire based on inexpensive toys filled with plastic pellets?"
Lets welcome, Legs the Frog, Squealer the Pig, Brownie the Bear (
later renamed to Cubbie the Bear), Flash the Dolphin, Splash the Whale, Patti
the Platypus, Chocolate the Moose, Spot the Dog and Pinchers the Lobster!
These beanies first appeared in small gift stores in the Chicago, Illinois
area in January 1994. They would be the first to mark Ty, Inc. as a company
of quality and reasonably priced stuffed toys.
Although, when these "bean filled" toys were first released they did
not initially catch on, it didn't take long before they did, and when they
did the results were phenomenal! They became an instant hit primarily in
1996 after Ty retired 11 beanies! They were cute, small, affordable and well
we will never really understand what made them a phenomenon when compared
to other plush toys!
Sadly, today none of the Original 9 Beanies are current, they have
all since long retired. Splash and Flash were retired in May of 1997, Legs
and Spot followed suit and retired in October of 1997. During 1998 the last
5 of the Original 9 retired, Cubbie retired in January and Patti, Pinchers,
and Squealer in May, followed by Chocolate in December.
Lets take a closer look into the lives of each of the Original 9,
Licorice, gum, and peppermint
This moose always has these
But there is one more thing
he likes to eat
Can you guess his favorite
Of course the first release of these Beanies had no poems, it was
not until Chocolate was released with 4th generation tags did we see a poem.
Chocolate was born April 27, 1993, he is a dark brown moose whose favorite
treat must be chocolate!
Cubbie used to eat crackers
And what happened to him
He was stung by fourteen
Now Cubbie eats broccoli
Poor Cubbie! Yuck broccoli! Cubbie is probably remembered most for
being given away to children at Chicago Cubs games. The first giveaway was
May 18, 1997. The first 10,000 children at these games received Cubbie accompanied
by a commemorative card noting the special event. These first Cubs giveaways
sell for $100+ on the auctions today.
Oh! You want to know more about the Brownie v. Cubbie thing! Well
Ty first released Cubbie under the name of Brownie, Brownie is very rare
and retired shortly after release in 1993. These two bears are identical
with the exception of their tags! Brownie along with Punchers (known today
as Pinchers) were truly the first beanies, as they were released in early
1993. The whole set of "Original Nine" were officially released at the New
York Toy Show later on.
You know dolphins are a smart
Our friend Flash knows how
Splash the whale is the one
who taught her
Although reading is difficult
under the water!
Flash and Splash were both retired together on May 11, 1997. They
seem to make a great pair as Splash the Teacher and Flash the Student. Flash
was born on May 13, 1993 and after retirement replaced by Echo the dolphin.
Legs lives in a hollow
Legs likes to play leapfrog
If you like to hang out
at the lake
Legs will be the new friend
Legs was born April 25, 1993 and seemed to be one of the first beanies
to somewhat flood the market, there were plenty to go around! Legs retired
in October of 1997.
Ran into Patti one day while
Believe me she wouldn't stop
Listened and listened to
That would explain her extra
Patti was born January 6, 1993 and is one of the first beanies to
be a part of Ty's crazy world of changing colors! The purple platypus has
been magenta, maroon and raspberry! An original Patti still fetches a lot
of money on today's market.
This lobster loves to pinch
Eating his food inch by inch
Balancing carefully with
Moving forward slow as a
Pinchers is a bright red lobster. Pinchers was originally released with tags that said "Punchers," most likely a spelling error.
Splash loves to jump and
He's the fastest whale alive
He always wins the 100-yard
With a victory he'll make
Splash was born on July 8, 1993 and was one of the first to be retired.
Splash is a pretty hard to find beanie today.
See Spot sprint, see Spot
You and Spot can have lots
Watch out now, because he's
Just stand back and watch
Spot was born on Halloween in 1995 and shares the same birthday as
Spooky the Ghost. Spot for unknown reasons was first created without a spot.
This beanie is considered one of the most valuable and rare beanies (without
his Spot). He retired on October 1, 1997.
Squealer likes to joke around
He is known as the class
Listen to his stories for
There is no doubt he will
make you smile!
This pink little Squealer was born April 23, 1993. Squealer was one of the
Original 9 in production the longest, not retiring until 1998.