A small antique shop in Boyds, Maryland, was the birthplace of the Boyds Bears. From those beginnings in 1979, the company has grown and now includes figurines, accessories, pottery and home décor items, as well as its beloved stuffed animals. Collectors of Boyds Bears are drawn to the unique style of the animals, as well as to the craftsmanship that goes into every one. Understanding how to find the value of each bear will allow you to build a collection that has worth as well as whimsy.
Be knowledgeable about your bear. Knowing as much as possible about your Boyds Bear helps you to find its value. For example, it is good to know the original retail price of the bear. Then, when you have determined its current market value, you can see how much it has appreciated. Also some bears were mass produced, and others were made in limited quantities. The limited quantity ones have a greater value. Often retired bears are more valuable than those still in production. The Boyds Collection website has a search feature that helps you determine if your bear is a limited edition or is retired.
Look at collectors’ guides. Visit a library, bookstore, or Amazon.com and find value guides for collectible bears. There are books that deal specifically with Boyds Bears, including “Boyds Bears and Friends Collectors Value Guide” by CheckerBee Publishing and “Boyds Tracker Plush: Value Guide” by Beth Phillips. If your interest lies specifically in the Boyds Bear resin figures, try the book “Boyds Tracker Resin: Value Guide” by Beth Phillips.
Study the marketplace. Because the collectibles' market fluctuates, looking at Boyds items that have sold recently is a good indicator of value. Visit a collectibles store in your area that features Boyds Bears and look at the prices. Go online to look at what bears are selling for on the Internet. A good option is to set up a free account on eBay in order to see completed auctions. Because of the high volume at the site, you will see a large inventory of both old and new bears and what people were willing to pay for them. Use this information to asses the value of your own collection.
Network with other collectors. Talk with fellow Boyds Bears collectors to find out which bears are the most collectible and the most valuable. Join a collectors’ club such as the Friends of Boyds (F.o.B.) to find other people interested in and knowledgeable about the Boyds line of products.
Shelia Odak has over 10 years writing and editing experience for consumer and trade publications including "Radio/TV Interview Report." She has worked for over nine years in education and holds a Ph.D. from Georgia State University. Odak writes on a range of topics including education, literature and frugal living.