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Beanie Baby fun facts

Published May 19, 1997|Updated Oct. 1, 2005

Beanie Babies were first introduced in 1994.

Created by designer Ty Warner, Beanie Babies were the biggest toy of the 1996 Christmas season.

They come in 77 animal shapes, each with its own name, birthdate and poem.

The makers "retire" some of the lineup occasionally when they introduce new characters. By limiting production and selling only through specialty stores, Oak Brook, Ill.-based Ty Inc. has fed the demand.

Beanie Babies are made in China.

Some people reportedly have offered up to $1,000 for the rarest versions _ especially those with manufacturing flaws. Parents often ask their kids to keep the toys' ID tags, because presumably they will boost long-term value.

Beanie Babies are generally not sold in toy and department stores, but in specialty shops such as card stores.

McDonald's recent Teenie Beanie Baby promotion is perhaps the most popular Happy Meal prize ever.

The father of them all

Question: Who made Beanie Babies? _ Taryn Loughran

Answer: In 1962, after graduating from Kalamazoo College in Michigan, Ty Warner started selling stuffed animals. In 1980, though, he started making and selling his own. Then, in 1993, he came out with smaller ones that would be cheap enough for children to buy. He called them Beanie Babies. His company, Ty Inc., has made more than 90 kinds, including cats Nip, Zip, Flip and Snip. His home and his company are in Oakbrook, Ill. Beanie Babies, though, are mostly made in China and Korea, according to Forbes magazine.

_ Knight-Ridder Newspapers