Auction in progress for collector doll

Emily Babcock

After retrospective books monopolized The New York Times best-seller’s list for weeks, the legacy of Princess Diana is now challenging a new market: the Beanie Baby business.
At the Williamson Hall bookstore, a special edition Princess Diana teddy bear has its own table, overshadowing piles of frog, lion and monkey Beanie Babies. Twelve of the purple “Princesses” are part of a silent auction going on this week at the bookstore. Bids will be accepted until 1 p.m. Thursday with all proceeds of the silent auction going to the Twin Cities Ronald McDonald House.
A tag on the teddy bear, which is considered by many Beanie Babies collectors to be the most important part of the stuffed animal, contains a poem written in honor of Lady Di:
“Princess,” reads the tag. “Like an angel, she came from heaven above. She shared her compassion, her pain, her love. She only stayed with us long enough to teach the world to share, to give, to reach.”
Meg Katzman, executive director of the local Ronald McDonald House, said the auction proceeds will be used for the everyday care of 33 families that live at the house.
“I would hope the students would recognize the importance of the proceeds,” Katzman said.
Families of children who are terminally ill stay at the house, for a minimum of 100 days. Katzman said the house is almost always full, because families from all over the world choose treatment at Fairview-University Medical Center.
Ty, Inc., the maker of Beanie Babies, donated a portion of its proceeds from holiday sales around the world to the Princess Diana Fund.
Kari Weidling, the bookstore’s marketing manager, said the Ronald McDonald House was chosen to receive the auction’s proceeds because of its location and its involvement with children.
For University junior Cristina Bernal, an exchange student from Spain, the teddy bear is special because of Princess Diana.
“It would be a special item to own,” she said.
Ronald McDonald House received more than $3,000 for two of the same stuffed animals auctioned over a local radio station in December.
Weidling said she doesn’t know what to expect from the silent auction. “You never can guess when it comes to people’s generosity.”