Saturday, September 17, 2011

Is this Care Bear Plush Vintage? Collector Tips

I'm thinking about starting a series of posts that discuss and point out vintage vs. non vintage items. A lot of toys have been reintroduced and sold in stores in new forms or as near carbon copies of the old toys. Some of these include Rainbow Brite, My Little Pony, Smurfs, and Care Bears (among others!).

To start off this series, I would like to offer a quick tip for determining if a Care Bear Plush is vintage (1980s or 1991) or new (post 2001). Care Bears have been sold in three phases: the classic 1980s toys, the "environmental bears" from 1991, and the 20th anniversary bears from 2002 and on.

Perhaps we will start off with a game! Which of these plush toys are vintage (1980s & 1991) and which are not vintage (post 2001)? Write down your answers and check at the bottom of the post!
Got your answers written down? Ok, now on to the tips:
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
The easiest way to determine if a plush is vintage or not is to look at the white tush tag. The vintage bears (both 1980s and 1991) were made by Kenner. The non-vintage bears are made by Play-along Toys. The years are printed clearly on both the older and newer tags! Easy as pie!




Of course there are always problems with this technique - some times toys are so loved that the tags can no longer be read, or sometimes the tags are cut off. Home-made bears (made from licensed fabrics or patterns) don't have tags at all! Or you only have an auction photo to go by which doesn't show the tag on the plush.

Other Tips:

Flat bears and bears that look home-made: The flat pillow-like bears are vintage 1980s. Some vintage 1980s bears were also made by following licensed patterns such as this:
Care Bears with hard (non plush) faces: these are 1980s Care Bear cubs that originally came with baby accessories such as a bottle, booties, bonnet, or pacifier.

1980s Care Bears (both large and small) have fully embroidered tummy symbols. They also always have white paw pads on their feet (shaped like hearts) and hands (only the larger bears). Some of the new bears also have this, but if the plush has colored paw pads it is not a vintage 1980s Care Bear.

1991 Environmental Bears: these all have silky belly fabric with complex designs for their tummy symbols.

Warning! There were also special 20th anniversary collectors edition plushes made in 2002/2003 that were made to look very much like the original vintage bears. The best technique for these is really to look at the tag. The new ones still look different overall than the old ones, but I would probably need to provide side-by-side photos to show the difference.

I know this certainly doesn't cover EVERYTHING, so if you have any additional tips, please let me know! I would love to hear them!

Solutions to quiz:
A: NOT VINTAGE 2002 Tenderheart Bear
B: VINTAGE 1991 Environmental Love-a-lot Bear
C: VINTAGE 1980s flat home-made pillow Love-a-lot Bear
D: NOT VINTAGE 2002 20th Anniversary Collectors Edition Funshine Bear (Tricky!!)
E: VINTAGE 1980s Cozy Heart Penguin

4 comments:

  1. are the homemade ones decent sellers? I come across those all the time

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm not sure if they sell well (I have never had an extra to sell). - Most of the pillow bears are worth about $5.00 in excellent condition, so they're not big money makers. If you see Grams Bear, or Baby Hugs and Tugs pillows I would pick those up though since they're worth a little more. I like to use this price guide for ball-park price estimates: http://www.timelesstrinkets.com/CareBears/Price-Guide-Frames.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have a ton of care bears I want to sell

    ReplyDelete
  4. Does anybody know the 2 of the series 4 mini figures glitter rare cheer bear I have one that would be a great addition to any collection

    ReplyDelete