Lefty the donkey is worth $400, some $300 less than the wingless yellow duck, Quackers. If you spot a spotless dog name of Spot, you'll need nearly $1,000 to take him home from an online auction house.
If you don't comprehend the above, chances are that you don't have children in single-digit grades. Lefty, Quackers and Spot are Beanie Babies, and they are the hottest thing since the original sinners.
Beanie Babies are stuffed animals with colorful heart-shaped ID tags with the creature's name, its birth date and a biographical quatrain. Do not, under penalty of endless screaming, remove that tag. In their more pedestrian incarnations, Beanie Babies cost a mere $5 to $7. When you can find them. You usually can't. Demand far outstrips supply.
Enter Beanie Baby bulletins on the Web. The company site offers a tally of 73 active and 17 retired Beanie Babies, including five different and now-pricey versions of Teddy the bear in cranberry, jade, magenta, teal and violet.
Kim's Beanie Baby FAQ, however, lists more than 200 permutations, alphabetized by first name. ("Old face Teddies" can be worth $600, reports Kim, who coordinates auctions on the Net.)
For chat, rumor, and potential mail-order suppliers, you probably can't beat Meghan's Beanie Babies. Through Meghan, you can track rumors. For example, Garcia the bear apparently is not the subject of a lawsuit.
A cautionary aside: If your tyke has figured out how to print, some of the illustrated Beanie lists eat up a lot of inkjet cartridge.