Squishmallows Aurora

by Dr. Lori Verderame

Squishmallows are big, really big, in the world of toys. They promise to remain big and Squishmallows toy values are expected to bring high values in years to come. Just a few short years since their introduction in the fall of 2017, the collectible Squishmallows plush toys, in their many character and squad versions, have achieved the type of widespread interest for collectors that Boyd’s Bears, Cabbage Patch Kids, and Ty Inc. Beanie Babies have achieved. What these other vintage toys and dolls have become in decades, Squishmallows have become in a few short years. If you don’t have one, get one now and hold onto it for future value.

Squishmallows Aurora

Squishmallows have more of an organizational collecting interest than other plush toys in the market. What does that mean? Squishmallows are organized in groups which makes collecting easier and fun. With the introduction of Squishmallows squads, thematic categories how these stuffed plush toys are collected. What Squishmallows did that other brands like Ty Inc. Beanie Babies did not, is they categorized their toys into squads and released and marketed them in small-related groups. This helps collectors to fill in the gaps in one’s collection easily and know when they have reached a collecting milestone like owning a complete squad of Squishmallows. Each Squishmallows character has a name, squishdate, and backstory on its attached tag, which needs to be in good shape, intact, and attached for greatest value. The soft and cuddly stuffed toys are available in four sizes:  5 inches tall, 8 inches tall, 12 inches tall and 16 inches tall ranging in price from approximately $5 to $20.

Kellytoy, the California based toy manufacturer that makes and markets Squishmallows, introduced the brand in the fall of 2017 and have been enjoying widespread interest and robust sales – more than 55 million in sales to date– ever since. The complete Squishmallows Squad includes more than 800 characters in various sizes, colors, forms, figures, textures, and styles. The plush toys which second as soft throw pillows are simple in their design. They feature colorful and varied textural traits that make the toys attractive to the collecting public. Squishmallows are made from super soft Spandex, a synthetic polyurethane fiber known for its elasticity. Each one is washable and it is a good thing they are washable since they are so cuddly that little kids’ and big adults’ hands will be touching them often.

Squishmallows Aurora tag

Collectors look for some of the same elements in a Squishmallow that they looked for in the popular and highly collectible Ty Inc. Beanies Babies and Cabbage Patch Kids, among other collectible toys. Particular Squishmallows from certain squads are important to collectors and hold value. Another value indicator is whether or not a Squishmallows character is active or retired. Tags are very important to authentication and value since there are fakes out there trying to imitate Kellytoy’s popular brand.

Rarity is a factor as certain Squishmallows have been retired and are no longer available affecting Squishmallows toy values. With many popular and rare Squishmallows squad members being difficult to obtain, retirement is a typical and important aspect to collecting these toys. Squish hunters, the name for collectors of the toys as they are known, are on the hunt constantly at online auctions, thrift stores, yard sales, and flea markets looking for those illusive and popular toys that are guaranteed to be the hot collectible toy of the future.

Why are adults collecting Squishmallows?

Collectors gravitate to toys when they relate to history, culture, or what’s going on during a specific moment in time. In the case of Squishmallows, the tumultuous and divisive period in history of the present day is one reason why these huggable, cuddly toys are so sought-after. They are like Disney toys with a distinctive look and like Beanie Babies with an easy collectible design.

When it comes to collectible toys like Squishmallows, quality materials, good condition, and interest in the market are all factors that impact Squishmallows toy values. Plush stuffed toys that are made of high-quality materials will stand up to repeated use and constant display over decades. This is the same situation that collectors of Ty Inc. Beanie Babies, Cabbage Patch Kids, Madame Alexanders dolls, and Disney toys have experienced, making Squishmallows in good company. Squishmallows, and any toys for that matter, must be kept in good condition long term in order for Squishmallows toy values to maintain their value. And, with Squishmallows which come in different sizes, it is easier to keep the smaller ones in good condition because they can be housed in acid-free plexi-boxes whereas the 12 inch or 16 inch sizes must be protected with plastic bags or stored in plastic totes to retain their original condition.

But, most collectors don’t want to just store their Squishmallows, they want to display them, hug them, and enjoy them. That’s the best part of collecting these toys since the materials of Squishmallows allow for easy display and use. Larger stuffed toys are more apt to be played with and used by owners which is how condition is largely impacted. Quality materials is one factor that makes collectible toys valuable. Squishmallows also demonstrate the response to what is currently important in today’s society.  For Squishmallows, like Beanie Babies, the toys are soft, cuddly, cute, and associated with pleasant and warm feelings. Squishmallow toys were introduced during a time of great upheaval and angst in the world with many social issues coming to the forefront of society in the late 2010s. The social tensions since circa 2015 to 2020 prompted a renewed interest in cuddly toys and a need for huggable stuffed animal toys like Squishmallows. Similarly, in the early 1990s, circa 1992-93, when Beanie Babies were first sold, American culture was experiencing many difficulties in terms of social equity, high crime rates, and a struggling economy making those stuffed toys popular and serving a societal need.

Squishmallows debuted in thematic squads like the Fantasy squad, Prehistoric squad, Buddy squad, Wildlife squad, Classic squad, Food squad, etc. Each Squishmallow has its own character name, squishdate which is likened to a birthdate, collector number, character backstory, biography, and of course, the all-important –and God forbid you remove it– printed paper tag. The low cost of these toys is attractive to all ages. Kids can afford their low price and can add to their Squishmallows collections and parents don’t have to worry about how much they are spending on adding to a Squishmallow collection. While kids love the toys, adults collect Squishmallows, too. In fact, recently, I was interviewed about appraised Squishmallows toy values and the young adult reporter/interviewer admitted that she and her friends are wild about collecting Squishmallows, too. She didn’t surprise me that she loves Squishmallows. Young adults, like kids, are enthusiastic plush toy collectors. Why? The members of the young adult age group who grew up during the 1990s collectible toy craze are now able to collect cuddly toys for nostaglia and investment. They have seen how Beanie Babies have increased in value and are interested to build collections of other toy collectibles that will hold and increase in value as Squishmallows will.  Many collectors of all ages collect Squishmallows by squad or by squishdate as it relates to a special event date in their life like a birthday or anniversary, and by color or type, etc.

Some of the most popular and valuable Squishmallows that are retired and that are still available from various squads are:

  • Clara, Ice cream sundae, Food squad, Collector #425, Squishdate 3-10-2020
  • Rocio, Tie dye green Dinosaur, Prehistoric squad, Collector #680, Squishdate 11-18-2020
  • Tracey, Black and White Zebra with pink mane and ears, Wildlife Squad, Collector #191, Squishdate 3-11-2019
  • Aurora, Tie-dye Purple and Pink Unicorn with Silver nose and ears, Fantasy squad, Collector #241, Squishdate 6-13-2019
  • Denise, Mermaid with Purple Hair, Fantasy squad, Collector #197; Squishdate 3-12-2019
  • Antoni, Green Turtle with Brown Shell, Sealife Squad, Collector #None, Squishdate None
  • Brody, Dark Blue Dinosaur, Fantasy Squad,  Collector #131, Squishdate 9-2-2018
  • Ilene, Pink Unicorn with Rainbow Bangs, Fantasy squad, Collector #274, Squishdate 7-18-2019

Squishmallows and Social Media

Squishmallows Tracey

The huggable toys have, like all good collectibles, created a stir on social media, particularly on TikTok, called SquishTok by collectors of the stuffed toys. During 2020, reports indicate that Kellytoy sold more Squishmallows than ever during the global Covid 19 pandemic when the isolation of lockdown sparked a collecting trend. The company has reportedly sold more than 73 million toys. Squishmallows are about community too, just as Beanie Babies were, in the early days of social media. Online communities of collectors are coming together to share photos of their collections, treasure hunt for both new and rare squad members, and communicate about their hobby.

On the resale market, Squishmallows are actively traded, bought, sold, introduced, and retired. Some of the retired Squishmallows are offered online for high prices commanding as much as five to ten times their original sales price into the several hundreds and thousands of dollars. Values are skyrocketing as new Squishmallows are introduced and vintage Squishmallows are retired or made no longer available. Like Beanie Babies toys, Squishmallows’ individual tags are traded without their related stuffed toys too. The more complex the toy, the more desirable. The early Squishmallows dating back to 2017 are among the most sought after with collectors as are some of the more complex or unique characters from 2019 and 2020. Today, collectors are paying well into the hundreds of dollars for a rare and retired Squishmallows toy. These are the same toys that were once sold for under $10 so that’s a great return on investment for toy resellers and collectors alike. Squishmallows will increase in value over time as long as the plush toy remains free of dirt, odor, stains, etc. Tags must be original and attached to the toy to retain value too. Resellers are sourcing them at thrift stores and flea markets and reselling them for a big mark-up online. Values are rising on these culturally significant soft plush character toys.

Watch videos on my YouTube channel where I talk more about Squishmallows toy values. I can appraise your Squishmallows from photos or you can show me your Squishmallows during a video call.