One for the Ladies

In full disclosure, Barbie dolls were never of a particular interest to me. All I knew was when I undressed my sister’s Ken and Barbie and posed them in compromising positions my grandmother would get really aggravated and look like she wanted to hand me over to the next roving band of gypsies that came through town.

When I started collecting, computers were still in their relative infancy. My quest for treasures led me to auctions, flea markets, antique malls, and a bi-weekly publication called Toy Shop Newspaper, which had ads from people selling toys, looking for toys, phone-in auctions, and informative ads on different toys. I bought a lot through this paper and made a lot of friends all across the country.

The first show I did as a seller was in St. Charles, Ill. in west suburban Chicago. At the time it was one of the biggest in the nation, with over 500 vendors that came from as far away as Plymouth, Mass., Birmingham, Alabama, Santa Clarita, Cal., and Lansing, Mich., along with many local vendors. The show was located at the Kane County Fairgrounds and one of the exhibition buildings was referred to as the doll building, because that’s where most of the high end doll and bear dealers set up. I came across vintage Barbies occasionally, and I met a lady there who had been a collector for many years. She was a veritable wellspring of information. Any time I came across what I knew was a vintage figure, I’d show her and she’d give me all the information I needed so as not to sound like an idiot. I can promise you Barbie collectors are some of the bitchiest people on the planet.

FROM WIKIPEDIA;
Barbie is a fashion doll manufactured by the American toy-company Mattel, Inc. and launched in March 1959. American businesswoman Ruth Handler is credited with the creation of the doll using a German called Bild Lilli as her inspiration

FOR MORE ON HER HISTORY, HERE’S THE LINK:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbie

NOW FOR SOME FACTS YOU CAN USE, GLEANED FROM MY FRIEND

Starting in 1959,the first 6 years of the doll were referred to as Barbie#1 in 1959,#2 in 1960,etc.
The first 6 dolls all had hand-painted finger and toenails, eyes, and lips.
Each version had subtle but distinct differences, so a pro knows which is which.
The first 2 were made in Japan,#3 through 6 were made in Hong Kong.
#1 and #2 came on a plastic stand. There were metal holes in the bottom of the feet that these went into.

CHECK IF YOU HAVE ONE OF THESE IN THE ATTIC.
THI S ONE HAS NO HEAD. JAPAN IS MARKED ON THE BOTTOM OF THE FOOT. THIS IS WORTH ABOUT $1,500

s-l1600

 

THIS ONE IS ON EBAY RIGHT NOW.THE ASKING PRICE IS $1,375

THEY REPRODUCE THESE NOW FOR ABOUT $25, SO YOU BETTER KNOW WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING AT. I DON’T, BUT THEN AGAIN I DON’T COLLECT BARBIES.

THE HAIR CAME IN TWO STYLES: PONYTAIL AND SHORT-HAIRED, OR BUBBLE CUT.
THIS IS THE #1 PONYTAIL BRUNETTE. THEY WANT $5,200 FOR HER

THIS IS THE #3 BARBIE

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SEVERAL FASHION DESIGNERS,INCLUDING VERA WANG AND BOB MACKIE HAVE DESIGNED OUTFITS FOR BARBIE. THIS ONE IS A BOB MACKIE FROM 1994. IT’S WORTH ABOUT $150.
PRICES VARY, DEPENDING ON THE OUTFIT AND WHETHER OR NOT THE DOLL HAS EVER BEEN REMOVED FROM THE BOX

As with any collectible, from stamps to automobiles, the value of anything depends on two things… condition and rarity.
With Barbies, collectors looks for cracks at the elbow and knees, chips in the face or nail paint and missing hair. There are actually people who replug hair in old dolls.

The worst thing for Barbies is called “greening.” The old dolls had pearl earrings, which were stuck into the head on a little pin. These pins were made of jewelers metal, the kind cheap rings and bracelets are (were) made of that turned your fingers green. There can be a little green, I’ve seen dolls with green halfway down the cheeks. This is death to the value of the piece. It can be fixed, but it’s not as easy as cleaning with solvent and only should be done by an expert if you want the doll to retain any value.

JUST FOR FUN, HERE’S THE FIRST BARBIE COMMERCIAL AS IT AIRED ON THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB IN 1959.
MATTEL WAS EXTREMELY SUCCESSFUL BECAUSE THEY ADVERTISED HEAVILY ON KIDS’ SHOWS, ESPECIALLY SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS.

THE DOLL ORIGINALLY SOLD FOR THRE DOLLARS. IF YOU ONLY KNEW

THROUGH THE YEARS

BARBIE’S MOM,RUTH HANDLER,TELLS HER STORY

3 Comments

Filed under Family & Friends

3 responses to “One for the Ladies

  1. I had some Barbies when growing up. They functioned as giants when staging battles involving GI Joes, Transformers, Ninja Turtles, and My Little Ponies. Let me tell you, nothing strikes fear into the heart of Cobra Commander faster than a Barbie in a sparkling magenta tube top. Megatron was a bit harder to rattle, but he soon learned about the flexibility of Barbie, and learned true fear.
    😉

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  2. Pistol Pete

    The Cobra Commander was from the 3 3/4″ set of G.I.Joes.They came out in the 70’s.The original figures were 11-1/2″.In due time I’ll do one on Joes as well.Today’s kids are barely capable of such imaginative play and the wonder of pretend.We had it pretty good back then.

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  3. Ting

    I really enjoyed all of this – a neat diversion and it jostled a lot of memories. I had one of the first few years, maybe 1960 or 1961, and it is still up in my attic, but I know the hair is a wreck. I know I couldn’t have a 1959 one, because my parents wouldn’t spend the $3 so I had to buy a $1 knock-off at the dime store in the beginning. I remember the earrings on the pins, but I think I usually took those out. I remember also having Midge, Skipper and Scooter, and a cardboard house with plastic furniture. I enjoyed all of that back in the day, especially all the tiny little accessories.

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