While talking with Jamie over lunch today, somehow the subject of beanie babies came up, which left us wondering about the remaining relative value of what some people's mother in laws considered a legitimate retirement and/or college fund investment back in 1995.

The data is a bit sketchy and scattered, coming mostly from Wikipedia, The Ty website (which pulls up with a Netscape logo in the address bar and appropriately looks like something straight out of 1997) and price figures culled from eBay.
From my reading, I can tell you that there is a HUGE disconnect between what people think the approximate value of a "rare" beanie baby should be, and what people are actually willing to pay for it. Although there is the occasional odd bird (or bear) that will go for hundreds of dollars, the value is still nothing near what the people now selling these plush, cuddly bags of tripe paid for them in 1995.

Based on the data gathered in my scientifically scrupulous research methods, I have come up with the following chart which accurately depicts the relative value of Beanie Babies in "Mint" condition for the period 1993-2008:

As you can see, Beanie Babies started off in 1992 with a relative value somewhere between Miller Lite and Lint (Pocket, not Dryer) then gradually inched up until hitting the Dog Turd plateau of '94. This was followed by a skyrocketing in popularity, until the BBs (as I like to call them) hit their peak value in late 1995, being valued at slightly more fiscal worth than an El Camino (1984). Since that time, the value of a beanie baby has steadily decreased to the current, low level.

In 1997, a Princess Diana bear went for about $4,000 when it first hit the market. It's now worth about 25 bucks, for a net loss of $3,975.
Conversely, if they would have put that money into a modestly-performing mutual fund that only gained about $5 per share in value over the last 11 years, they would have made $463 dollars.