Hi My name is Carl and I have been collecting since about May 03. Sometimes the exact date one starts collecting is not known, often people come to the realisation they are collecting and have been for a while without even knowing it. The most common question I get asked is "How many do I have?". My collection is currenlty 815 (as at 01/Feb2007) with about 200 to go. That figure does not include Tiny Kids, Mini Kids, Cuddly Kids, Great Big Kids, Giant Kids or Accessories. Then I get asked, "How many are there to collect"? Another question is "What is the rarest Beanie Kid?" These questions will be answered in other guides.
Other guides I plan are;
What is the rarest BK?
There are now 2 Gold nose mutations of which only 65 units exist of each. But there is a rarer one that only about 7 exists, it's BK270. It's a producution mixup that Skansen don't list but I have one and I have personally seen 4 of the other 7.
Care, storage and handling of BK's.
E.g. don't use PVC tag protectors they will fade the tag after a couple of years. A slow and un-observed damage and then it's too late. Or "kept in a zip locked bag". Once sealed in a bag could result in moisture trapped and then mould. Some Patty the Platapus were mouldy when opened after only a few months sealed, that's why there is a mousture beads satchel in each "Chippy Bag" now.
Traps of sellers on eBay.
E.g. Rare and Hard to find, or "I've never seen this on eBay". These usually only mean they haven't looked. I've seen one or both of these on one listing and the same item listed, even on the same page of items within a few lines.
There are many ways to collect Beanie Kids (BK). Some of the basic ones are collect "All of them", "All the Premier Exclusives", "All the Hooded Beanies", "All the ones I like" and many more which will be explained below along with my personal style of collecting which is a little different again.
The reason I say that I have about 200 to go is it's open to interpretation. As of 01/02/07 the latest BK number on the tags was 571. But over the years some things have happened that make collecting more than one of a particular BK more or less important. E.g. as of 01/01/07 I have 13 Spike the Bullie, all with different Swing and Tush tags or a combination there of and suspect thet there could be a few more that I haven't ever sighted. I even wrote the tag history page on the BK web site for Beaine Master. A link to my tag history and the one on the BK Site follows can be found from my ME page, the link is beside my member ID.
Other people collect one off production errors that include wront tush tag (I once found a Rosie with ah Tush tag for some Irish product), Print missing on the swing tag, Bits of embroidary missing, Spelling, Date, Star Sign errors on the tags, Bits missing like the hair bun on Shanti missing.
So what follows is a bit of a decision list that will help you decide what to collect then you can work out the number to collect in my other guide "how many are there to collect" along with the listings in the Collectors guide and the BK web site.
There are some decision about collecting you have to make and levels of collecting first basic level is;
1: Collection Criteria; Collect anything and everything, Collect one of each BK number, or specialise. I.e. Just the animals; Just the Beanie bears; Just the Hooded; Just the Premier Exclusives; Everything except the AFL; etc.
Then decide to the depth below that you want to go.
2: Physical Variations; about 13 bears and 1 Animal were made smiling and of them about 8 also made frowning. There is small and large version of some like Proud and there is Jaffa that comes in Small eyes and nose and Large eyes and nose. These are sometimes called unofficial mutations. I personally don’t like the term as it gets confused with the true Skansen mutations, (see next note).
3: Physical Mutations; there are 25 beanies that have mutations.
4: Tag Errors. Oliver the baby blue comes with two birth dates. Of the two there is 2 tag versions (see next note) of the first date. There is a batch of Cackel were made with the bar code upside down. Another is the first batch of Leap were made with the birth date of 29.02.2002 instead of 29.02.2000.
5: Tag Versions; I have found 7 different Prince the Bear (the original) 2 Smiling and 5 Frowning, 4 with the "lovable collectables" tag and 3 with the "Australia’s Cutest collectables" tags. All split with different Tush tags and I suspect there are 2 more to find. Shelly and G’day will be similar. And of couse my 13 Spikes. Basically Tag version is where the information on the tags has changed.
6: Tag Variations. Oliver the baby blue comes with 2 tag versions (see last note) of the second date there is 2 different fonts used on the bar code numbers. Basically Tag Variations are where the information is the same but how it's presented changes.
7: NQR’s (Not Quite Rights). These are also sometimes called unofficial mutations which makes the name mutations really muddy. Some examples of this are Leap with and eye sewn on backwards, Foxy with the Foxy on the chest sewn on upside down, Nilla with arm sewn on pointing upwards, Meow made with a black nose instead of a pink nose. Swing tags that are printed with the wrong colours, without names and bar codes. Beanies made with the wrong tush tag on beanies. The best I have heard of is a Giddy-up made with one gold and one silver hoof. Which makes it a NQR, Premier Exclusive, Hooded, Mutation, the only thing it didn’t have was a tag error as well.
So there is quite a science to the beanie collecting.