The Beanie Babies craze of the '90s, in which a line of popular stuffed animals became coveted collector's items, has rendered one family bankrupt, the Daily Mail reports. A man documented his father's obsession with the toys that he thought could make for a fruitful investment in a new film entitled "Bankrupt By Beanie Babies."
The Los Angeles family spent a whopping $100,000 on the stuffed animals, hoping they could later sell the toys to fund their three son's college tuitions. Things went sour when Beanie Babies began losing their value as the family continued spending tons of money on the bean-filled animals.
Chris Robinson documented the years his family spent obsessively collecting the toys, showing how his father's life had been consumed by the hobby of collecting as many Beanie Babies as he could.
"This is like admitting to a drug addiction, you know, you want to forget it," Robinson's father told the camera, surrounded by boxes of the toys. He went on to explain how he thought he could gain a financial return for the toys and send his three sons to college.
At one point he started to think: "Well what am I doing it for? Ok, I'm doing it for a college education, which so far has never taken place because I guess I lost a lot of money."
His wife explained that the family was under the impression that the toys could help them make money.
"Probably from about six months from when we started buying them we were able to realize we could buy them then turn around and make a profit on them," she said. "Although that was the plan, it never happened because we never sold them, we just bought them."
Chris Robinson told Dazedigital.com how his family's life began revolving around the obsessive collecting. "It became this all-consuming family activity, filling up any free time that wasn't already earmarked for school or our youth hockey teams," he said.
The idea for the collection first began when his younger brother Taylor was with his parents in Boston, saw one of the toys and asked for one. When his father was told they were collector's items, he was inspired to start collecting himself.
"The plan going in was for them to pay for our college tuition, but it became pretty clear that wasn't going to happen for us," he said. "Maybe by the time our kids graduate high school they'll have made a comeback."
Beanie Babies were first introduced to the public in 1993, and over the years hundreds of different types spawned from an original collection of just nine characters. Ty Inc. made an estimated $6 billion from the toy craze, boosted by the collecting craze of the stuffed animals that began in 1995 and ended in 1999.
Nowadays, sellers on eBay attempt to cash out as much as they can on the toys that have lost their value, worth not even nearly as much as people had hoped. eBay sellers advertise "bulk" collections of Beanie Babies that include up to 15 for just $29.99.
However, an "ultra rare" first edition Princess Diana Di Beanie Baby was recently listed on the site for $6,500, and currently has at least seven watchers.