Beanie Babies have been dubbed “millennials’ favourite toy” – and given their zeitgeist status, it’s unsurprising that some of their most famous iterations are closely linked to historical dates.
The Millennium Bear is often listed among the top ten most valuable Beanies, offered for sale on Etsy for $42,000 to $52,000. However, these prices may be massively misleading – and their error values are often overstated. We’re taking a closer look at how much this famed bear is really worth today.
Ty Inc., the company behind Beanie Babies, made their fortune through scarcity. From 1995, the company decided to place strict limits on how many Beanies could be made and distributed to toy stores in the USA. This tactic drove collectors into a frenzy, with each hoping to get their hands on rare limited editions.
The turn of the century marked a particularly important period for the franchise. In August 1999, the company announced it would cease making the beloved toys. They even released a ‘final’ bear named The End. But this soon proved to be a publicity stunt.
The announcement triggered a major outcry from fans. “They’ve been deluged with calls and letters from children, hospitals, charities and collectors, all begging them to reconsider,” one collector noted. Ty Inc. then declared an online vote about the future of Beanie Babies, and it was soon decided that the toys would resume manufacture.
The Beanie Baby bubble burst soon after this stunt, which had reportedly rubbed some collectors the wrong way. But among the final triumphs of Ty Inc.’s Y2K efforts was Millennium the Bear.
Released on January 1, 1999, this toy was retired just 11 months later. It was designed to celebrate the upcoming date of 01/01/2000. The character is a fuchsia bear with a black nose and black eyes, plus a golden ribbon around his neck, which could either be stiff or soft.
On his chest, Millennium sports an embroidered logo depicting the Earth and the rising sun, accompanied by the figure “2000”.
Millennium’s tag includes the following poem:
A brand new century has come to call
Health and happiness to one and all
Bring on the fireworks and all the fun
Let’s keep the party going ’til 2001!
Like many Beanie Babies, this toy came with an array of swing and tush tag errors, including various mistakes in the spelling of ‘Millennium’. Despite widespread rumours, such errors are very common and therefore do not increase the value of this Beanie Baby.
In April 1999, a Millennium Buddy came out with a different hang tag message:
Millennium the Beanie Baby
commemorates a once in a lifetime event,
making it a once in a lifetime Beanie Baby!
The following December, Ty Inc. held its annual sales conference in Chicago’s Renaissance Hotel. The company gifted 203 signed Millennium Beanie Buddies to the conference’s attendees.
These signed Buddies were packed in boxes and wrapped in heart-pattern tissue paper. Each special gift had the same phrase printed on the reverse of the hang tag: “Ty Sales Conference Renaissance Hotel Dec 12-14, 1999.”
Millennium the Bear is often associated with extortionately high listed prices. The highest current listing on Etsy is £41,074.97 (. The seller describes the toy as “extremely rare”, noting: “Its errors include a Tush Tag Millennium spelled incorrectly as ‘Millenium’.”)
Action Network, Complete Set and Luxe Digital all claim that Millennium the Bear is one of the most valuable Beanies around. Other publications have suggested that Millennium could “get you rich quick”.
However, experts have warned that there can be a massive difference between the listed price and the actual sales being completed.
The website Beanie Babies Price Guide warns against trusting listed prices. “Misled sellers have even offered to fly their beanie to potential customers because of the high value,” the site notes. “Before you buy a plane ticket, know that NO variation of Millennium is worth $5,000, no matter how many errors are found.”
In reality, both the Millennium Bears and their various errors were mass-produced in the 90s. A more realistic estimate of their value can be found by searching through completed sales of this toy on eBay. Millennium usually sells for around to $5 to $30.