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When cover story author Tyler Hayden was 12 years old — seen here on the left with his cousin and sister — he had exactly three Beanie Babies: Stinky the Skunk, Congo the Gorilla, and Bubbles the Fish. Within a few months of this 1997 picture, Tyler had graduated to much manlier Magic cards. His sister went on collecting and kept a sleeping/cuddling schedule to give her few dozen animals an equal amount of attention. She’s now studying to become a veterinary technician.

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