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$3,000 for a cuddly social-networking toy?

Webkinz sell for top dollar online.

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Neha Tiwari Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Neha Tiwari is a CNET News.com associate producer.
Neha Tiwari
2 min read

In the '80s, it was the Cabbage Patch doll. In the 1990s, Beanie Babies.

What better toy to rule the millennium age than with a social-networking stuffed animal? A relatively Web-savvy concept by gift company Ganz, these plushies hope to usher in elementary-level children into the Web 2.0 realm.

Love Puppy: would you buy me for $100? Ganz

Webkinz--stuffed animals that also live virtually through avatars that interact with others in their own online world--have become increasingly popular since their introduction in 2005. Like Beanie Babies, certain they're available for a only limited time, then retired. On eBay, the retired Webkinz Cheeky Pet Dog and Cat are at a whopping starting bid of $3,000. On Amazon, the seasonal Love Puppy is selling for $99. But if you peruse a card shop in your area that carried Ganz toys, you may be able to score a non-seasonal or retired Webkinz for the relative bargain of just $12.

"Actually, a lady before you came in and purchased nearly 100 of the Webkinz," Jean Amirbagheri, manager of a Carlton Cards store in San Francisco, told us. "They've been really popular for events where a bunch of kids get together, like Easter, church functions and birthday parties."

An eBay search for Beanie Babies turned up an auction for 450-plus retired beanies, buddies and teenies for a starting bid of $2,500. An entire case of Cabbage Patch Dolls (six in all) are going for $150, while two "classic" cabbages selling for $2,000.

Will Webkinz retain their value-ad allure? The answer is as clear as the stock market.