Whether you’re the ‘80s or a ‘90s kid, there’s a great chance that you used to own one of the exquisitely detailed Boyds bears. Even if you were born later, we’re sure that your older sibling or even parent introduced you to one of the plushy bears that made the childhood of so many children better. While Boyds Bears also made other toys, closing down in 2014, which made many people nostalgic about the iconic bear toys.
There’s almost no kid from the 1980s up to the 2000s that didn’t experience the euphoria of playing with their own Boyds bears. Their iconic appearance and popularity led to them becoming one of the more notable collectibles, with many collectors collecting them just to relive that euphoria and enjoy their blast from the past.
Boyds Bears were made in a plethora of different models, themes, and appearances, and whoever had one could agree that no bear looked completely the same as other bears of other kids in the neighborhood, which is exactly what made playing with them so much fun and brought so many smiles and excitement on the market.
Although many years passed since the Boyds Bears were discontinued and closed down, a lot of people still know the original retail price and other details that decorated these stuffed animals. While some may want to keep their bears and hunt other ones to expand their collection, many people are also comfortable with selling their bears and passing the tradition on.
Unfortunately, Boyds bears may not be as valuable as some other antique and vintage collectibles, as they’re being sold in bulks. However, their market value is changing daily, for the better. Uncommon collectibles can be bought for $100 and higher, while the extra-rare collectibles are sold in thousands.
Keep in mind that some time still needs to pass since the acquisition and retirement of the Boyds bears, which will make the value change. Good collectors should gather bears while they’re still affordable, so that they can make more fortune later. For hobbyists, this is an ideal time to collect Boyds bears.
Even though Boyds Bears seem like a harmless, popular children’s toy, it’s important to remember all the details about your bear, evaluate it, and set a good selling price. Don’t forget that your bear needs to be in mint condition to be sold, which is another important point to consider.
In this article, we’ll help you take advantage of all the important details you need to know to sell or collect more Boyds Bears. The current market value changes constantly, but we’ll help you recognize these changes and evaluate the Boyds Bears on your own. Continue reading to learn more!
About Boyds Bears
The whole irony about collecting vintage Boyds Bear stuffed toys originates from the fact that they originated exactly from an antique shop, owned by G.M. Lowenthal and Justina Unger. They came on the idea of Boyds Bears back in 1979 in their Maryland antique store while selling all sorts of antiques.
Oftentimes, the husband and wife couple was bored with the day-to-day routine that their job brought and decided to start designing and assembling different teddy bear models. Lowenthal named his first teddy bear Matthew which was inspired by his son.
The hobby hit off, so the couple continued designing and assembling Boyds Bears which ultimately led to the rise of the world-known brand. The antique shop turned into plush bears, as well as other plush animals. The couple was designing rabbits, ducks, and other animals that could be turned into a stuffed toys.
In 1987, the couple moved from Maryland to Pennsylvania 1987 and grew the company so that more Boyds Bears would be made and the company would evolve further. In 1993, the business grew enough for them to make other toys such as resin figurines, which led to five resin collections that were designed in unique styles.
It was then that collectors and other great names started growing interest in Boyd’s toys, particularly the teddy bears. However, with time, even more, items appeared in their catalogs, such as outdoor garden figures, ornaments, tree toppers, and much more.
It’s no secret that the bears were the most popular toys the company brought out, and this just led to further evolution and expansion around the globe.
After that, the company introduced the “Loyal Order of Friends of Boydss” which was supposed to be a membership club that brought various benefits to the most loyal customers.
That allowed collectors to benefit without spending too much money, as they’d be rewarded with unique designs each new season that came. This change was introduced in 1996, and it brought, even more, Boyds bears fans and customers in the process, because everyone wanted to have a rare bear.
Because of its rapid evolution and expansion to other continents of the world, Boyds Bears enjoyed vast popularity, but the owners wouldn’t turn it into a fast brand. Instead, all items were assembled by hand and loved, so that every detail would be visible and contribute to the authentic design of each bear.
This is something that Lowenthal insisted on because it’s exactly these small details that led to such vast interest among the customers. Employees would then need to inspect the bears by hand once they were assembled to confirm there are no faults.
Another thing that was interesting about his policy was that he focused on making more affordable toys, which would turn into collectibles in the years to come. To contribute to that cause further, every year the company would retire several bear models so that they’d have a greater chance of becoming collectibles.
The company was at its peak through the early 2000s, but since then, its popularity started slowly declining. In 2008, it was sold to the company Enesco which was making and selling gifts, but instead of this acquisition setting the bears on the right track, the popularity only plummeted further.
Production costs raised and ultimately the Boyds Bears were retired in 2014 due to lack of popularity.
Are Boyds Bears Worth Anything?
Although to some, 8 years may look very long, in terms of vintage and antique collectibles, 8 years is nothing. With that in mind, the Boyds Bears are considered pretty recent and despite the owner’s goodwill to turn some toys into collectibles, they didn’t gain the value one would hope for.
They may indeed look like they don’t have some great value, but for many adults, these toys marked their childhood and as such, they have vast sentimental value in their hearts. Their value will inevitably grow in the future, but it’s not easy to say when that’ll happen exactly.
With this in mind, some Boyds bears can be incredibly valuable, while others won’t be. It all comes down to how the market changes and how many Boyds bears are circulating among collectors. If you already have some Boyds bears and would like to start building your collection, now is a perfect time as their value still didn’t skyrocket.
In 10 to 15 years, they may be way more valuable, and saving your collection, especially with those rarer options will pay out, perhaps even by ten times more. If you want to sell your bears, we suggest waiting some more, unless your Boyds bears are super-rare.
Boyds Bears Value
We concluded above that the Boyds bears may not have some super-high value, given that it’s been only 8 years since they’ve been discontinued, but if your bear is rarer than others from the collection, you may be able to cash in more than one would hope.
Alternatively, while the value is still low, you could use this time to invest in the bears and see whether you’ll be able to sell them in the years to come, so this may be a more suitable period for people who want to collect the bears rather than sell them to collectors.
Given that their production and retail price were relatively low, it’s important to note that it’ll be hard to sell Boyds Bears for more than $100. More importantly, the auction prices for the Boyds bears usually go in bulk. That being said, you’re more likely to sell a bulk of 5 to 10 bears and make some money out of it, than sell a single bear for more than $100.
Most collectors can get a Boyds bear from the late 1980s and 1990s for $5 and the price only goes down as the years move forward. That being said, you’ll be quite lucky to sell your Boyds bear for a high price. One of the examples of this value model is the bulk of 6 Boyds Bears & Friends which was sold for $86 two years ago.
Keep in mind that the condition of the Boyds bear also plays a great role in how much the toy will sell for because collectors want to collect bears that are in pristine condition. Some rarer options in mint condition are listed for up to $50, like this one on eBay, but it’s not guaranteed that anyone would buy it now.
Another thing that plays a great role is when it was made. Collectors always want to look into the older options because they’re more authentic and loyal to the original. Otherwise, if you browse bears that were made after 2000, especially those that were made after Boyds Bears were acquired by Enesco, you’re in for a disappointment, at least now.
How to Recognize Rare Boyds Bears?
Given that there are so many Boyds bears at the moment, with some being in mass production, it’s quite hard to determine which bears are the rarest. Nevertheless, Boyds Bears did save some bears for special occasions to turn them into collectibles.
Additionally, there were some exclusive seasons and collections, featured either through the monthly membership plan or limited runs such as those for Christmas, and other occasions that would take place during the years, that would eventually influence the collections.
Some collections were sold in thousands, even tens of thousands. Those likely don’t have value now, but if you maintain them in pristine condition, you or your children may be able to sell them in the years and decades to come.
On the other hand, some limited conditions reached only a few homes, with a total collection quantity amounting from 10 to 50 bears, which makes them more valuable. One such collection is Fleurette Hare, as there were only 6 of them.
Although we haven’t been able to track any online auction of Fleurette Hare, it’s believed that the rarest variants of the Boyds Bears have a value that is measured in thousands. This video also shows the top 10 most popular Boyds Bears, so if you think one of your bears is from that collection, make sure to give it a look.
How to Evaluate Boyds Bears?
Given that Boyds bears are a relatively new toy and still quite popular among the populations, it shouldn’t be too difficult or challenging to evaluate the Boyds bear as it’s not expected to cost a lot in the first place.
If you’re wondering whether hiring an appraiser would be a good idea, we can’t agree with it fully. Perhaps, you should wait for that until you collect some more bears and get a valuable collection that will jump in price. If you can confirm that your bear is rare, then you should hire one.
Visiting different vintage online shops, as well as forums should give you a better picture of how to evaluate your Boyds bear. The Internet is full of knowledgeable people, and we’re sure that you’re going to find what you’re looking for.
Without further ado, let’s detail the focus points on evaluating the Boyds bears, as well as other Boyds products.
- Original age: Original age will tell you when was the bear made and with that in mind, you’ll have an easier time determining the value of the bear. Remember, bears made past the 2000s will have a lower value, while bears made before that will have even greater value. You can easily determine the age by looking at the serial number which also has information about when was the bear made.
- Is It Rare: As mentioned earlier, some bears were made in the hundreds, which makes them quite abundant on the market and decreases their value, at least for now. On the other hand, there are special collections that consist of only a dozen of bears, which increases their value. If you can confirm this, you can get a lot of money for your rare bear.
- Is it Handmade: This one may be a little more difficult to determine, but usually some distinct markings and threading can indicate whether your bear was assembled by hand, or by a machine. Keep in mind that bears that were made after the acquisition of Boyds bears are likely not to be handmade.
- Condition: Keep in mind that your bear needs to be well-maintained. The good news is that these bears and other stuffed animals aren’t too difficult to care for, which is good in case you discover a bear in your attic you’d like to sell. For rare items, it’s even more important not to have any damage on them.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re wondering about additional details about the Boyds bears make sure to check this FAQ section and learn more.
Where Can You Buy Boyds Bears Today?
Etsy and eBay are flooded by the Boyds Bear listings. However, not all of them are rare or too valuable. If you can afford it, you should spend money on bulk, which you can resell in a few years or decades, depending on how you’ll feel about it. Other locations include online antique stores, flea markets, general-purpose stores, and antique shops.
How Can I Identify My Boyds Bear or Resin?
Both stuffed toys and resins can be easily identified with the help of prints. Each bear pattern is cut by a hand and then sewn one step at a time. There are also hangtags that can help you recognize the collection. Along with that, unlike other stuffed toys, Boyds bears have embroidered paws, eyes, noses, and mouths, which were done by hand.