When looking through a collection of Beanie Babies, many people come across one that has different, unmatched names on its two tags. Is this a valuable error? Unfortunately, it’s usually not, but it can depend on a few factors.
The first thing to check is which of the tags is the incorrect one. If the swing tag is showing the wrong name then you’re looking at a Beanie that is worth *less* than the correct version. This is because hang tags can be swapped out by the consumer and there’s no way to prove that it was produced that way from the factory. It doesn’t matter how positive you are that it was originally bought that way. Most collectors would prefer for their Beanies to have the correct tag.
If the tush tag is incorrect then it doesn’t decrease the value of the Beanie. It typically won’t increase the value by very much. It comes down to the individual buyer to determine how much it’s worth to them personally. Tush tag oddity collecting is a very small niche within the hobby so you do not have a large audience for it. The rule of thumb usually used on these is to take the value of the Beanie as it is, and multiply it by 1.5. So a common $5 Beanie will only be worth a few more dollars than usual, but one that is already rare could see more of an increase. Again though, this is something that is typically decided on an individual basis between the buyer and seller, and it’s not impossible to sell one for considerably higher. We have seen $20 – $40 over the past few months. That is not the norm, however.
There are a few reasons why these oddities don’t usually sell for very much or are not given much attention:
1) They are relatively common. It’s impossible to get any real stats saying how common they are, but many people do own at least one by pure accident. Even if only one out of every thousand Beanies has the wrong tush tag, that still means many thousands or even millions of them were made.
2) They’re less interesting than other oddities. The type of production mistakes that sell for higher is more unique and immediately apparent. Something like a Beanie missing its embroidered emblem or flag, having a leg sewn on backward, missing eyes, etc… these are the kind of oddities that collectors are more interested in.
3) Any Beanie released in the proper time frame could have been given one of dozens of other tags, meaning there are hundreds of possible combinations. There have been attempts to list all the ones that have been found, but it’s not something easily quantifiable. Oftentimes people will say “I found an X with Y’s tag, but I can’t find any information on it”, and that’s because it’s just one out of a huge number of similar cases and there’s no need to list them all individually and track the sales history on each of them.
Beanies with mismatched tush tags are most commonly found with the Gen 4-5 swing tag and Gen 3-6 tush tag. If you’re unfamiliar with tag generations, you can find the chart here:
Gen 1 and 2 tush tags do not have the Beanie’s name listed, so aside from the copyright year used on some of the later releases, the tags have no information specific to any particular Beanie, and can’t be mismatched.
The Gen 3, 4, and 5 tush tags (used on Beanies with Gen 4 hang tags), and Gen 6 tush tag (used on Beanies with Gen 5 hang tags) are the ones that the oddity happens on most commonly. These are the ones that are usually not of great interest to collectors, as explained above.
The Gen 7 and 8 tush tags (also seen with the Gen 5 swing tag) don’t seem to suffer from this problem. Perhaps Ty started cracking down more on quality control to make sure the correct tags were always being used. It’s hard to say why, but it’s an observable trend that would continue to all the later generations. You don’t see mismatched tags on Beanies from 1999 onward very often, and so any that do show up could be considered a bit more notable to some collectors.
Lastly, here are a few documented cases of Beanies with the wrong tags that don’t follow the “random accident” trend of most other examples. Some of these are just as common as the correct versions, and some are worth more; it mainly comes down to how many were produced.
– Maple with “Pride” tush tag [Gen 4 swing tag, Gen 3 tush tag]
This is a case of a Beanie having a last-minute name change where the old name slipped through briefly. No other Beanie at the time was named Pride, so this isn’t a swapped tag oddity. Only the very first shipments of Maple came with the “Pride” tag, and with it already being a Canada exclusive that was originally hard to come by for the first few months of its production, this version is worth a fair amount.
Average value: $50-125 (Normal Maple averages $1-3)
– Sparky with “Dotty” tush tag [Gen 4 swing tag, Gen 3 tush tag]
These were made for a short while right before Sparky retired and was replaced by the very similar Dotty. Seeing as how the Beanie was changed due to issues with the name “Sparky” being trademarked by the National Fire Protection Association, this is seen as a premature name change before the new hang tags were printed and the Beanie’s design changed.
Average value: $10-20 (Normal Sparky averages $5-9)
– Echo and Waves with swapped tags [Gen 4 swing tag, Gen 3 tush tag]
These two Beanies released at the same time. Echo is a blue dolphin, and Waves is a black orca. When first released, both were produced with the wrong hang tag and tush tag. It was fixed after a short while, but they’re still not very hard to come across.
Average value: $2-7 (Normal Echo/Waves average $1-3)
– Iggy and Rainbow with swapped tags [Gen 5 heart tag, Gen 6 tush tag]
These are not incorrect tags but are commonly mistaken to be. The full explanation of the confusion revolving around Iggy and Rainbow can be read here:
Average value: $1-10 (Mostly $1-3, with extreme color schemes going higher)
– Spinner with “Creepy” tush tag [Gen 5 swing tag, Gen 6 tush tag]
Similar to Maple, this was a case where the name on the tag was not used on any other Beanie at the time. But this was not the original release of Spinner, it came a few months later, and is exclusive to the ones produced in Indonesia with early Gen 5 hang tags.
Average value: $12-25 (Normal Spinner averages $1-3)
– Clubby II with “Clubby” tush tag [Gen 5 swing tag, Gen 7 tush tag]
About half of the Clubby II Beanies produced will say “Clubby” on the tush tag without the roman numeral II. These are not valued any differently from the correct versions.
Average value: $1-3 (Same as normal Clubby II)