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When Eric Bell in 1998 Won two tickets to the MLB All-Star Game at Denver’s Coors Field, he came for a bear, not a baseball.

“I’m not really a sports fan,” Bell said recently, recalling a game from decades ago.

Belle’s eyes were laser-trained to acquire one of the game’s most coveted items, a Bearie Babies teddy bear named Glory, which featured a red, blue-and-white fur with an American flag engraved on its heart.

All-Star Bears sent a rage to collectors at the height of the Beanie Babies fashion, which is considered one of the world’s first internet sensations. Their maker reportedly raised $ 1.4 billion in 1998 as collectors bought toys not just for playgrounds but for real financial investment.

After the first Denver MLB All-Star Game, people paid hundreds of dollars for the Bears of Glory, which the 50,000 fans who filled Coors Field got for free.

Andy Cross, The Denver Post

Coors Field entrance fans welcomed the Beanie Babies until the start of the 69th annual MLB All-Star Game in Denver on July 7, 1998.

When they could not legally obtain one, some stole the Glory. According to the Denver Post archives, a Denver police officer was investigated for leaving with several Beanie Babies children, while the charges of theft were considered, but were not filed against a volunteer who, according to police, tried to escape from 27 stuffed toys.

Bell was not sentimental about fame. He saw the obsession of all-star Beanie babies and wondered if anyone could provide it. He looked at the bear in the form of a cash cow.

“As soon as I had that item in my warm hands, I was trying to figure out who was going to buy it,” said Bell. “I called all the collector places I could find in the Yellow Pages. I asked what they would pay for this extremely valuable bear. I found one that offered 300 Indians. I said. “How soon can I get it to you?”

This year the All-Star Game is back in Denver. Colorado Roxy spokesman Corey Little said fans could expect some presents during All-Star Week before Tuesday’s game. But he did not think anything could match the Beanie Baby’s 1998 craze, which the paper described as an “imminent uprising” at the time.

Andy Cross, The Denver Post

Security was tight at the Beanie Baby Stage before fans could enter Coors Field Denver on July 7, 1998. The dolls were distributed to fans who had tickets to the 69th annual MLB All-Star game. Diane Roth opened Beyan’s fresh bag to share.

“They have beautiful souls”

So did all the hysteria pay off for the fans who took away a piece of fame in the ’98 game?

“It depends,” said Lori Verderama, a Beanie Babies appraiser.

Verderama, Candidate of Long-Term Assessment Sciences. In the history of art, he was busy with the virtual assessments of the Beanie Babies during the epidemic, as housewives cleaned the attics and basements, the garbage bins of the legacy of bean bags that passed at an unknown cost.

Most people who spent their glory days now have a bear that can range in price from $ 50 to $ 500, depending on its condition, Werderham said.

Glory listings on eBay last week ranged from 99 cents to $ 3,000.

Features that may increase the value of Beanie Babies include misprinted labels on the collection brand or the specific country in which the toys were made, Verdereme said. According to Verderame, other considerations that may affect the price include whether the doll is still neatly packaged, smelling, suffering from “ball deterioration” or the 1998 “All-Star Game” ticket stacks with memories.

Claudine Darling, the self-proclaimed “Beanie Baby Queen”, keeps her fame in a protective case with the “All Star Game” commemorative card displayed at her home in Coronado, Southern California.

Darling said he had amassed hundreds of Beanie babies ժ inherited the glory over the years. He hopes to sell the All-Star Bear to the right owner.

“When I look into their eyes, I paint their pictures, I remind them that they have beautiful souls; I know from here and there, their lost souls will soon return to the good homes they sought, they will cherish them,” Darling said. ,

Hyun Chang, Denver Post

In this 1998 photo, 6-year-old Hillary’s sisters և 7-year-old Haley Twitman from Bromfield wait at the gate in Coors Field, hoping to buy one of the famous Beanie children from a former fan.

“Crazy, how crazy people were”

As far back as the late 1990s, the local edition of Wordword celebrated fame with its special egg.

Longtime Westword editor Patricia Calhoun recalled the Beanie Baby fanaticism that surrounded Denver’s first All-Star Game.

“It was crazy how much people were obsessed with that Beanie Baby,” Kalhun said. “Especially in our office, someone who wanted Beanie Baby’s money to retire.”

Someone in the newspaper office actually took the hand of one of the bears, which eventually came out with a literal flame of glory.

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