Finding the value of stuffed animals can be worth the extra time and effort. What a stuffed animal is worth boils down to what a buyer will pay. The manufacturer and age of the toy can mean the difference between selling it for 25 cents at a garage sale and selling it to a collector for hundreds of dollars.
Determine the manufacturer of the toy by looking for labels or tags. Some brands are considered collectible and more valuable. Collectors covet plush animals made by the Steiff Toy Company, making these toys worth hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Every Steiff stuffed animal manufactured after 1904 was marked with a metal button attached to the left ear, fin or wing of the toy. A cloth yellow tag under the button gives the stock number and size of the toy. Original tags can increase the worth.
Determine the manufacturing date. This may be printed on the label or tag. Disney characters and other cartoon animals are likely to have manufacturing dates that coincide with the year movies were released, or the peak of the coinciding cartoon show’s popularity. Company websites are good resources for finding a manufacturing date and other information on toys. Vintage toys and limited editions are often worth more.
Assess the condition of the stuffed animal. Stains, missing parts and excessive wear decreases the value of a collectible toy. The better the condition of the product, the better price it commands.
Look at similar toys on the market. Check popular marketplaces like Ebay for similar stuffed animals. See what others are charging for the same or similar toy. This can help determine a market price as well as the rarity of the stuffed toy.
If you think you have a true collector’s item, like a vintage Steiff, have the toy assessed by an antiques dealer. Doing some extra legwork to seek out an expert may pay off. The popular PBS show Antiques Roadshow assessed the value of a 1903 Steiff Teddy Bear between $8,000 and $10,000.
Alice Drinkworth has been a writer and journalist since 1995. She has written for community newspapers, college magazines and Salon.com. Drinkworth earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Wisconsin and won a media award for her in-depth coverage of local politics. She is also a certified master gardener.