If you were a kid in the 1980s or early 2000s, you probably had a Boyds Bear in your house. The company that made these collectible stuffed toys and figurines stopped making them in 2014, but collectors still keep them because they are special to them. How did the Boyds Bears get started? How much do Boyds Bears cost right now? And which Boyds Bears are the hardest to find?
Boyds Bears: A Brief History
G.M. Lowenthal and Justina Unger, a husband-and-wife team, came up with the idea for Boyds Bears in 1979. Their name comes from the Maryland town where the company began (Boyds, Maryland). At first, Lowenthal and Unger only sold antiques, but Lowenthal became very interested in creating and putting together teddy bears. He called his first-born son Matthew after the first bear he made. From there, Lowenthal kept making and adding to his collection of Boyds Bears, and business kept getting better and better.
At first, Boyds Bears only made stuffed animals. They started with bears and then added ducks, rabbits, and other cute animals. In 1987, the company had to change because it moved from Maryland to Pennsylvania. In 1993, the Boyds Bears company started making figurines out of resin. They eventually made five different resin collections with different styles. Collectors fell in love with Boyds pieces, especially after they started making ornaments, tree toppers, garden figurines, and other things. Boyds Bears fans formed clubs all over the world, and in 1996, the company started the “Loyal Order of Friends of Boyds,” which gave collectors access to new and rare bears every season.
Even though they grew quickly, Boyds Bears continued to be a labour of love. Lowenthal said that each part had to be put together and checked by hand. He focused on making inexpensive products that he hoped would become collectibles. He retired a few bears every year so that they would become collectibles. Even though the company was very popular in the 1990s and early 2000s, it couldn’t keep going in the 2010s. In 2008, the gift company Enesco bought Boyds Bears. Enesco put the Boyds Bears into “hibernation” in 2014 because the cost of making them was going up. Since they stopped being made so recently, they are still pretty new when it comes to old toys. How does this affect how we value them… and is now the best time to start collecting Boyds or sell the ones you already have?
How much do they cost now?
Compared to toys like Beanie Babies, which can cost thousands of dollars, how much does a Boyds Bear usually cost? Boyds Bears can be bought in stores and online for a range of prices, just like other old toys. We’ll talk about why rare bears sell for more money in the next section. As of June 2022, there are over 41,000 items on eBay that are related to Boyds Bears. The sealed 8-inch Plush Blossom Gardenberry is the most expensive Boyds Bear on eBay right now. Bidding starts at $9,800. On the other hand, an Enesco Ornament is the cheapest Boyds Bear on eBay, with bidding starting at just $.01.
The condition of a Boyds Bear can have a big effect on how much it costs. Boyds Bears are worth more if they are still in their original packaging and have not been opened. Even if they are hard to find, well-loved Boyds Bears that are chipped, dirty, or matted probably won’t bring in much money. But that doesn’t mean that newer Boyds Bears are worth more than old ones. Since Enesco bought the company in 2008, Boyds Bears made after that date are not worth nearly as much as those marked with the original brand.
People who grew up with Boyds Bears on their mantles or in their bedrooms have a lot of memories tied to the unique figurines. One YouTube channel, Arlynn’s Country Crafts, has a video of her collection of Boyds Bears that has been watched over 6,700 times and praised by 100 people. There are almost 20,000 posts on Instagram with the hashtag #boydsbears from collectors and fans of the bears. “The Boyds Bears Collections For Sale,” a private buy-and-sell group on Facebook, has more than 4,000 members. People who think of bears in a nostalgic way might be willing to pay more for a statue or stuffed toy that has sentimental value. Still, you can probably find cheap Boyds Bears at garage or estate sales, thrift stores, or online marketplaces.
Which Boyds Bears are the rarest?
There are many collectors’ value guides online that can tell you how rare any given Boyds Bear is. The Boyds Bears and Friends’ Collectors Value Guide is a popular book that has information about all five collections of resin Boyds Bears. But it’s from 2001, and prices have changed since then. Still, it can give you some information about bears and figurines from the 1990s that are harder to find and whose prices have gone up.
Out of the hundreds of Boyds Bears that have been made, the ones that are the hardest to find are usually the ones that were made in small numbers or not at all. Some Boyds Bears have been sold to thousands of people, while others have only been made in small batches of a dozen or less. For instance, the Fleurette Hare was made in a very small number. There were only ever six of them made. Because of this, many of these stuffed toys cost well over $100.
The Collectors Value Guide gives prices for resin figurines based on how many of them you have. From the Bearstone Collection, the “Christmas Bear Elf with List” seems to be the rarest Boyds Bear. It was taken off the market in 1994. As of 2001, it was thought to be worth more than 6,223% more than what it was worth when it was made. “Ethereal…Angel of Light” is the most rare card in the Folkstone Collection. The guide said it was worth more than 895% of its original price. “Jennifer with Priscilla” is said to be the most valuable piece in the Dollstone Collection, costing nearly 1,000% more than it did when it was first sold.
In the end, the prices of Boyds Bears can be affected by how rare they are, how well they are kept, and how sentimental they are. Still, they don’t cost as much as some rare Beanie Babies, which is crazy. If you’ve found Boyds Bears around your house, especially the more rare ones, you might want to keep them for a little while longer because their value will go up.