Spike the Beanie Baby made a splash in 1996. With an official birthday of 13 August, this rhino plushie graced toy store shelves until 1998, by which point Beanie Baby company Ty was making over $1 billion in annual sales.
Among his more colourful co-creations in the Wild Safari range, Spike stood out as a compact grey toy. Given the rumours that certain Beanie Babies are worth a small fortune today, where does Spike the rhino stand? We’re taking a closer look at how much Spike is actually worth in 2022.
Beanie Babies first hit New York City’s Toy Market in 1993. Their creator H Ty Warner focused on stuffed animal range with simple names, such as Flash the Dolphin and Legs the Frog. Filled with plastic pellets, these toys could be posed in different positions, which made them more distinctive than standard plushie fare.
At first, Warner would only sell 36 of any Beanie Baby animal to an individual retailer at one time. What’s more, by 1995, he decided to begin ‘retiring’ toys from production. These two choices proved to be a crafty strategy, as they made the toys appear rare and precious.
Sure enough, Beanie Babies triggered an investment frenzy, with adult customers vying to buy each model before they vanished from the shelves forever.
In July 1996, People Magazine published an article about Beanie Babies, in which toy store owner Richard Gernady predicted that the plushies could become “the biggest thing ever in retailing: Elvis, Sinatra and the Beatles combined.” The time was ripe to launch even more memorable Beanie Babies – which now came with their own printed poems. The company decided to create a new toy called Spike the Rhino.
Rhinos were a particularly timely choice for Ty. In 1995, studies revealed a shocking decline in the number of wild black rhinos as a result of poaching and horn trafficking. Black rhino numbers had plummeted by 98% over the past 35 years, with only 2,500 remaining in the wild.
As a result, there was a massive conservation effort in the mid-90s to restore black rhinos from the brink of extinction. Save The Rhino became a registered charity in 1994, and amid fundraising efforts worldwide, Spike cut a poignant figure in toy stores.
Around 7 inches in length, Spike the Rhino is a pale grey shade with stubby legs and black button eyes. He also has a dark brown horn with matching brown ears.
Spike’s introductory poem read: “Spike the rhino likes to stampede / He’s the bruiser that you need / Gentle to birds on his back and spike / You can be his friend if you like!”
Beanie Babies can vary wildly in value depending on their condition, present popularity and misprints on their tush tags. Sellers on eBay.co.uk currently offer Spike the Rhino for prices ranging from £900 to £1.80, but you should be wary of the extortionate end of the price range.
According to Beanie Baby collectors and experts, sky-high prices on eBay may in fact be a cover for illicit deals. In reality, the vast majority of vintage Spike the Rhino toys go on sale for £3 to £8. On the US version ebay.com, Spike rarely exceeds $20 in sales.
Spike the Rhino isn’t the only Beanie Baby of his name. In total, there are five different Ty collectibles called Spike.
Spike the Ghost belongs to the Beanie Boo collection. According to shop.ty.com, “Halloween is Spike’s favorite time when he can come out and have adventures with all the other ghosts and goblins. Take Spike the ghost trick or treating with you or have spooky fun with him any day of the year!” This model came out in 2020.
Spike the Alligator was released in 2019 and features dark green spikes and glittering green eyes. His poem reads: “I have a big tail and spikes on my back / And big teeth to eat my favourite afternoon snack!”
Other models include the fuzzy brown Spike the Hedgehog and the Ty Monstaz toy Spike, in vivid green and red.