A concept created by Beanie Baby collectors. In order to be worth anything, Beanie Babies must be in a like new (mint) condition, and their tags must be as well. It's kinda silly, but even a small crease or damage to the hole through which the tag hangs devalues the Beanie.

When my twins were little, some people gave them Beanie Babies as gifts. They were charming little stuffed animals, and the girls loved them. Of course, we cut off the tags and threw them away so that the twins would not choke on them or something.

Now the twins are much older, and the Beanie Babies have passed to their little sister. Apparently, some of the toys are rare ones, because several people have collapsed into gibbering masses of entrepreneurial gel upon seeing the dirty, threadbare little things (the child and her toys, that is).

The avid collectors challenge my intelligence, aghast at the irresponsibility of it all. I ask them what I'd get for such a prize, were it in mint condition, tag and all. $40? $400? $1200?

Well, some might be worth as much as $300, had I kept them out of the clutches of my children.

I watch my baby tuck the beasts into their little toy stroller, and waddle away down the hall.

Clearly, I have no investment sense.

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