Princess Diana was sadly died in a car accident 25 years ago, but her spirit endures. The Princess Diana Beanie Baby is one of the many incredible legacies that the People's Princess left behind. Others include her charitable work and the two sons she shared with King Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry.
A few months after Diana's passing, Ty Inc. developed a limited-edition commemorative plush toy called the Princess Diana Beanie Baby. The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund received the earnings from the sale of the purple bear, which has a white rose on its chest, when it was first offered for sale in December 1997.
The earliest shipments of the bear apparently had a restriction of just 12 per authorised shop, making them extremely rare and serving as a historical marker. According to Lori Verderame, an antiques appraiser with more than 20 years of experience who evaluates about 200,000 items annually, thousands of those items just so happen to be Beanie Babies, "in 1997, it was the toy to get."
The anniversary of Diana's passing and the fact that they were cherished collectible toys for those who were just entering adulthood—in their late 20s to early 40s—make it particularly interesting, she tells PEOPLE.
The smallest details, such as the stuffing (earlier versions were reportedly made with polyethylene pellets while the initial batch was reportedly made with PVC pellets), can have a significant impact on the toy's value. The worth of the bear can even be determined by its country of origin. Verderame notes, "There's a very long laundry list," adding that one depreciating element might be offset by a valuable one. She describes it as "kind of like a giant algebra puzzle." It's complicated because of the collectors.
The Princess Diana plush is also far less scarce than it ever was; as a result of strong demand, the business boosted its output. Every week, hundreds of Princess Diana Beanie Babies, according to Verderame, who thinks "millions" were created.
A quick search on eBay reveals very little: The asking price for the identical-looking plush toys ranges from just $45 to about $1 million, according to sellers. A mint-condition plush, according to Verderame, might be worth your time. Some of them might be worth thousands of dollars, she claims. "I've seen a lot of them that cost several thousand dollars or more. Five figures, no problem."
Even a copy could be valuable in some cases. Verderame adds, "There are a lot of those, too." "Many of the fakes are excellent... You can look for them and discover some that are very valuable."
Collectors should be aware that the plush's value today may differ from its value in a month, a week, or even tomorrow. Verderame claims that the Beanie Baby's value increased in August 2022 in connection with the anniversary of Diana's passing, but predicts that it will soon change once more.
Depending on their condition and the milestones the royal family is commemorating, according to Verderame, the value of these toys rises over time.
Verderame advises starting your online search for the ideal Princess Diana Beanie Baby. A site like eBay has a lot of options, she claims. She then advises getting the item appraised before choosing to "Buy it Now," especially in light of the fact that a high price doesn't always indicate a high value. Verderame asserts, "I can tell from a photo, I can tell from a video." But please don't mail her a Beanie Baby. She warns, "We don't accept any objects.
Without an appraisal, buyers can conduct their own due diligence; according to Verderame, it's best to start with the tag. She instructs, "Make sure the tag is attached." It needs to be fastened. The tags' creases, colour fading, stains, missing pieces, and the way the beans have settled are additional indications that a Beanie Baby has been well-loved. (As Verderame explains on her blog, some Beanie Babies were understuffed, causing the bear's head to fall to one side or giving the impression that the bear's stomach had too much "skin" on it.)
What happens if a customer discovers a Princess Diana Beanie Baby, or perhaps several of them, in the wild? It's a good idea to buy one if you see one at a yard sale, advises Verderame.