Fraud alert issued after Princess Diana Beanie Baby eBay listing goes viral

LONDON -- Thousands thought their Beanie Baby collections were going to make them rich in the 1990s. A lot of people spent their hard earned cash on the teddy bear-like animals stuffed with “beans” and labeled with a heart-shaped “TY.” For many, the only thing their investment ever got them was a healthy dose of regret.

One couple in Great Britain reportedly hopes their flea market find may turn into a down payment for a house, but a leading collector group is dismissing the possibility, and has in fact issued a fraud alert.

Leah Rogers and Ryan Flanagan were selling toys at a market in Bude, Cornwall. They noticed a particular purple bear at a nearby seller’s stall, according to the Daily Mail. Flanagan, 22, recognized it as a limited edition Princess Diana Beanie Baby. He didn’t realize how much it was worth.

The couple shelled out £10 ($15) for the Beanie Baby. They were shocked to find the rare Beanie Baby was selling on eBay for £62,500 ($93,406).

Only 100 first edition bears were made in 1997. The proceeds were to go to the Princess of Wales Memorial Trust. Princess Di, the former future queen, died in a tragic paparazzi-fueled car accident in Paris.

The bear is now listed on eBay for £20,000 ($29,890). The couple is hoping to turn their special find into a down payment for a house.  But there have been no bids yet, and their good fortune may be much ado about nothing.

Listing price and value are hardly connected, especially on auction sites such as eBay. While they have the limited edition bear, has issued a fraud alert warning consumers that their Diana bear isn’t worth much at all, regardless of production run.

The company that produced Beanie Babies made more than $6 billion from the craze, which ended around 1999.

Although collectors believed that certain Beanie Babies would eventually increase in value, including the ones shaped like bears or “retired” designs, their investments rarely paid off.