Series 1: 1998-1999
Ty Beanie Babies Official Club Collector's Cards, which appeared on the market in the U.S. in early November 1998, became one of the hottest new collectibles on the Internet. Some cards sold for over $3,500 on eBay, the world's leading person-to-person trading community, and it was common for collectors to trade Beanie Babies for Collector's Cards!
The first Series of cards, which come in a package similar to sports cards, retailed for $1.99. Serious Collectors were buying the cards by the case which contained 6 sealed boxes of 24 packs of cards. Though there are only 149 cards in Series 1 of this collection, differences in card coloring and numbering make the actual collection total 296 cards.
A pack of cards includes a checklist, puzzle and 8 cards. Each card bears a number (1-149) on the back of the card. The number appears in a star. If you are lucky, one of the cards may be a "Special card." A "Special Card" is either an Autographed Card, an Original 9 Card, a Retired Card, or a Birthday/Rookie Card. Other cards are called Common Cards.
This is the rarest type of card. Above is the Autographed gold Peanut the Royal Blue Elephant card. You will see the autograph "ty" on the bottom of the card and the number 1/1 to the right of the autograph. The autograph is written with a gold paint pen. There a total of 296 autographed cards in Series I. Only one of every type of card in every color was autographed by Ty Warner.
The first Nine Cards (1-9) are called the "Original Nine." Printed on clear acetate featuring one of the first nine Beanie Babies ever produced, Original 9 cards are numbered for each of the four color variations of red, blue, silver or gold. The numbers are printed vertically on the front of the card.
The second set of cards (10-24) are called "Retired Cards." Embossed with a "RETIRED" insignia in the upper right-hand corner, these cards feature one of 15 sought-after Beanie Babies including Peanut the Royal blue elephant and Quackers the wingless duck. The Beanies appear on a somewhat holographic background with the name of the Beanie Baby embossed in blue on a gold strip running down the left side of the card. The insignia determines whether the card is red blue, silver or gold. All cards with a gold insignia have a limited edition numbering written vertically on the left-hand side of the card. Only 150 of each retired gold card were produced.
The third set of cards (25-49) are called "Birthday/Rookie Cards." The name of the Beanie Baby appears in shiny foil letters in red (with a gradient to gold), blue (with a gradient of silver), solid silver or solid gold. A small blue rectangle with the word "ROOKIE" appears on 1997-1998 Beanies such as Clubby, Erin, Fetch and Princess. All gold cards are numbered to 150.
There are 100 Common Cards, number 50-149, in Series I. The Beanie Baby is embossed on the front of these cards. On the back of these cards, you will find the name of the Beanie Baby, Birthday, Issue Date, and Poem. In addition, information on the animal the Beanie represents are described in a special "Little-Known Facts" section on the card. Please note that there is an error on the Ty Checklist. No. 132 is not Tank (with Shell) but Tank (with 7 lines, no shell).
You will also get a puzzle in every pack of cards. There are eight different puzzles, "Winter Beanie Wonderland," "Born to be Wild," "Tropical Heat Wave," "Star Spangled Beanies," "The Original Nine," "The Faces of Teddy," "It's a Dog's life," and an unnamed puzzle fearing the dogs on one side and wildlife beanies on the other side.
Though a checklist comes with each set of cards, it does not specify which cards are in each set.
In a sealed box of 24 packs of cards, you will find one of eight special Slider Cards. Since not all retailers were willing to sell an unopened box, this makes the Slider Cards an interesting collectible item as well.