Valentina the Bear, with her fuchsia fur and black button eyes, is perhaps one of the most charming vintage Beanie Babies. Manufactured for less than a year in 1999, she is among the rarer toys of the franchise, and her association with Valentine’s Day has created lasting appeal. But as with many Beanie Babies, claims of extreme high value can be misleading.
Valentina Beanies are listed on eBay for up to $30,000, just under their more valuable Valentino counterparts. In reality, however, the toy rarely sells for more than $300 – and it all depends on rarity and condition.
Beanie Babies enjoyed an unprecedented craze in the late 90s. First introduced in 1993, by 1995 the creators, Ty Inc., decided to limit sales and retire characters in a clever marketing move that drove the toys’ scarcity and value up.
By 1999, Beanie Babies boasted various lucrative partnerships, including a McDonalds Happy Meal deal. Ty Inc.’s famous toys were so valuable that international counterfeiting became an issue, with over 6,000 fakes seized in the UK alone.
So it may seem surprising that, in December 1999, Ty Inc. stopped making Beanies. The company was reportedly concerned that the toys would plummet in value as they faced off against new rivals like Pokémon and Furbies.
Among the company’s final releases of the 90s was Valentina, a bright fuchsia bear who first reached toy stores on January 1, 1999. She was retired on December 23rd of the same year.
Set within her distinctive red fur are two black button eyes and a matching black nose. She wears a fuchsia ribbon around her neck, and a white heart is embroidered onto her chest.
Her Swing Tag is Generation 5, and her Tush Tag is Generation 7. The character’s birthday is Valentine’s Day: February 14th, 1998.
Valentina’s personalised poem (printed on her Swing Tag) reads:
Flowers, candy and hearts galore
Sweet words of love for those you adore
With this bear comes love that’s true
On Valentine’s Day and all year through!
Teddy bears have long been a staple of Valentine’s Day, an occasion that reportedly costs Americans $25.9 billion each year.
The character Valentina is strikingly similar to a previous Beanie Baby named Valentino, albeit with fuchsia and white regions swapped. Valentino first came out in 1994 and had a four-year production period, meaning that he and Valentina were never on sale at the same time.
However, it is not uncommon to see Valentino and Valentina listed for sale as a duo, given their similar names, designs and shared birthday.
Other similar toys to Valentino and Valentina include Casanova the Bear (released in 2006 after Ty Inc. revived the brand), Valentine the Monkey (2003) and the I Love You Bears (2005).
In 2023, Parade Magazine described Valentina as a “super rare” Beanie Baby, which could be “worth as much as $57,000”. It cited errors such as the year, red tush tag stamp and grammatical mistakes in the poem, as factors that can boost the value of this already pricey toy.
Errors can make Beanie Babies more valuable, though it’s important to note that many errors are a common, mass-produced phenomena.
By 2001, Ty Inc. began producing ‘jumbo’ Valentinas, one of which sold on eBay for $63.99 in June 2023. Large and extra large versions of this popular toy were also manufactured, surfacing occasionally in online auctions.