If you grew up in the 1980s and early 2000s, you probably had at least one Boyds Bear in your home. These rare stuffed toys and sculptures, famed for their intricate details and distinct themes, were discontinued in 2014, although admirers continue to value them sentimentally. Where did the Boyds Bears originate? What is the value of Boyds Bears today? And which Boyds Bears are the rarest on the market?
The past of Boyds Bears
Boyds Bears was created in 1979 by G.M. Lowenthal and Justine Unger, a husband-and-wife team. Their namesake is the Maryland municipality where the company got its start (Boyds, Maryland). Lowenthal and Unger first sold just antiques, but Lowenthal later developed a passion for creating and constructing teddy bears. He called his first-born son Matthew after the first completed bear. Lowenthal continued to build and develop his collection of Boyds Bears, and as a result, his business flourished.
Boyds Bears initially produced just plush animals, later expanding to include ducks, bunnies, and other stuffed animals. In 1987, the company’s transfer from Maryland to Pennsylvania compelled it to continue to develop. Boyds Bears began producing resin figures in 1993, eventually releasing five distinct resin collections in various designs. Collectors fell in love with Boyds works, especially once the company’s product line extended to include ornaments, tree toppers, outdoor garden sculptures, and more. Boyds Bears fan clubs sprang up all over the world, and in 1996, the business established a membership club, the “Loyal Order of Friends of Boyds,” which allowed collectors access to new and rare bears each season.
Boyds Bears continued to operate as a labour of love despite their fast expansion. Lowenthal mandated that every product be hand-assembled and inspected. He concentrated on creating inexpensive products that would hopefully become collector’s items. Each year, he retired a number of bears so that they may become collectibles. Despite its enormous success in the 1990s and early 2000s, the corporation was unable to survive into the 2010s. Boyds Bears was acquired by the gift business Enesco in 2008. Enesco “hibernated” the Boyds Bears in 2014 as a result of the escalating manufacturing expenses associated with the Boyds Bears. Due to their recent discontinuation, they are still relatively new in terms of vintage toys. What does this imply about their value… And is it the optimum moment to begin collecting Boyds or to sell your existing ones?
What Is Their Current Value?
In comparison to toys like as Beanie Babies, which can cost hundreds of dollars, what is the typical price of a Boyds Bear? Similar to other vintage toys, Boyds Bears can be purchased online and in stores for a variety of costs. The price of rarer bears will be higher, as we will discuss in the following section. As of June 2022, eBay contains approximately 41,000 Boyds Bears listings. The most expensive Boyds Bear currently available on eBay is a sealed 8-inch Plush Blossom Gardenberry, with bidding beginning at $9,800. On the other hand, the most affordable Boyds Bear is an Enesco Ornament with a starting bid of just $0.01.
The condition can have a significant impact on the price of a Boyds Bear. Boyds Bears that are sealed in their original packaging are more valuable than those that have been opened. Chipped, unclean, or matted Boyds Bears that have been well-loved are unlikely to fetch a high price, even if they are difficult to locate. However, newer Boyds Bears are not always more valuable than older ones. Boyds Bears manufactured after 2008 (when Enesco acquired the company) are not nearly as valuable as those with the original brand.
Those who grew up with Boyds Bears on their mantles or in their beds attach sentimental value to the sculptures. Arlynn’s Country Crafts, a YouTube channel, has a video showing her Boyds Bears collection with over 6,700 views and 100 comments praising the figurines. On Instagram, collectors and admirers have posted approximately 20,000 times using the hashtag #boydsbears. A private Facebook page titled “The Boyds Bears Collections For Sale” has more than 4,000 members. People who view bears through a sentimental lens may be willing to pay more for a statue or plush animal with sentimental value. Boyds Bears are likely to be inexpensively available in garage/estate sales, thrift stores, and online markets.
What Are the Least Common Boyds Bears?
Numerous collectors’ value guides are accessible online if you wish to determine the rarity of a specific Boyds Bear. One popular reference, the Boyds Bears and Friends’ Collectors Value Guide, contains information on all five Boyds Bears resin collections. However, it is from 2001 and does not reflect the pricing of today. Nonetheless, it can shed light on the rarer bears and figurines from the 1990s, many of whose prices have increased.
Among the hundreds of Boyds Bears that have been manufactured, the rarest Boyds Bears are typically those that were produced in limited amounts or were not mass-produced. While some Boyds Bears have been sent to thousands of households, others have only been manufactured in batches of a dozen or less. For instance, the Fleurette Hare was produced in an extremely restricted quantity. Only six were ever manufactured. Consequently, some of these stuffed toys are valued in the hundreds.
Based on collections, the Collectors Value Guide assigns prices to resin figurines. From the Bearstone Collection, the rarest Boyds Bear looks to be the 1994-retired “Christmas Bear Elf With List.” As of 2001, it was estimated to be worth about 6,223% more than its initial cost. In the Folkstone Collection, “Ethereal…Angel of Light” is labelled as the rarest item, with an estimated value of more than 895 percent of its original cost, according to the book. Jennifer with Priscilla is claimed to be the most valuable piece in the Dollstone Collection, fetching over 1,000% of its original price.
Rareness, quality, and sentimentality can all influence the pricing of Boyds Bears. Nevertheless, they are not nearly as expensive as rare Beanie Babies. If you have found Boyds Bears lying around your home, especially the rarer ones, it may be worthwhile to keep them for a while longer as their value increases.