July 3, 2021

What All Barbie Lovers Should Know

by Barbie

Our FAQ About Collecting Barby

My Barbie has 1976 on the back of her head and 1966 on her body. Is she old and expensive?

Unfortunately no. The numbers on the body and head of the doll indicate the year when the given face mold and body type debuted. This essentially does not affect the value of the doll. By the way, marking 1976/1966 is typical for many common in Russia “nostalgic” Barbie dolls, which appeared in the country after the collapse of the USSR.

My doll has sparse hair. Is this a marriage?

Not. Vintage Barbies often sin with rare stitching, but such stitching allows you to make more natural hairstyles (frequent stitching with strands of the same thickness leads to an unnatural “mane” effect).

My Barbie is made in China (Indonesia, Philippines ….) Fake ?!

Barbie dolls have never been made in the USA! The production of the first Barbies was located in Japan, and later Mattel factories were located in a number of countries with cheap labor. If your doll is made by Mattel, it is real.

Barbie dolls from Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta, Todd Oldham … These designers themselves worked on them, didn’t they?

Either the designers themselves or the designers of fashion houses worked on the design of the prototype. As for the two legendary Dior dolls, Christian Dior personally has nothing to do with their creation, because he was no longer in the world. In general, these dolls themselves are no different from other collectible Barbies, except for the above feature. The assumption that the designers themselves painted on faces or hemmed clothes on these production dolls is fundamentally wrong.

How is a collectible Barbie doll different from a regular one?

  • Makeup. This difference became especially clear in the early 1990s, when the Mackie mold debuted, originally intended for collectible dolls and only then began to appear in the game lines. Collectible dolls in most cases have an exquisite make-up, more complex than play Barbies.
  • Working out an outfit. The first collectible Barbies (and the first collectible line is considered Happy Holidays, which debuted in 1988) were luxuriously dressed, but there was no more elegance in them than in playgrounds. But already in the early 1990s, collector’s editions began to dress in outfits (including those developed by famous designers) with complex decor – fittings, small beads, sequins. You will not give such a doll to small children for safety reasons. Nowadays, collectible Barbies can be dressed very elegantly, elegantly and realistically, in contrast to the colorful or frankly lurid “play”.
  • Circulation. During the Barbie boom of the 1990s, collectible Barbies were often not limited in circulation, and sometimes they were completely released. At some point, collectors began to lose interest in dolls, which were falling in price due to widespread availability, and the circulation of collectible dolls began to be severely limited. Now there is a distinction according to the so-called. labels – Pink Label, Silver Label, Gold Label, Platinum Label .
  • At a price. Most collectible Barbies are more expensive than play dolls, but pink label dolls can hit the market for a suggested price similar to play sets.
  • Body. Until the 2000s, collectible Barbie dolls were produced on the same basis as play ones, but in the 2000s, body molds debuted, used only for collectible dolls. In particular, the articulated Pivotal Body (articulated play Barbies such as Fashionistas have other bodies that are less elaborate and cheaper), the Model Muse Body (the so-called “model”), the Silkstone Barbie body (used only for the Silkstone line). “Vintage” bodies of reproduction dolls can also be included in this category, because reproductions always refer to collectible dolls.

Are other dolls of her size Barbie dolls?

Not. In relation to these dolls, the definitions “Barbie analogue”, “Barbie type doll”, “1/6 standard doll” will be correct, but not Barbie. Barbie is a registered brand owned by Mattel, and if you mention the name of Barbie in a conversation with a fan of the doll, then he will present exactly the doll from Mattel, but not an analogue or fake. 

It must be said that in Russia, people of the older generation sometimes even call big dolls of Tonner, AvantGuards or others – “do they make such Barbies now?”, Due to the fact that there were no fashion dolls in the USSR (the vast majority – exactly adult women), and the definition of “barbie” was fixed in the minds of people as a synonym for “adult doll”.

I know there was a pregnant Barbie. What is it called?

Pregnant Barbie never existed: according to the “legend” Mattel, she has never even been married. Pregnant Mattel Dolls are Barbie’s friend, Midge. And by the way, Shelley / Kelly is not a Barbie daughter, but a younger sister.

Is Barbie always blonde?

Not. The first Barbies had both golden and black hair, and subsequently, the color range of Barbie’s hair significantly expanded. Nowadays, there are also many brunette barbies, brown-haired, and more exotic hair color dolls. For example, all dolls of the Cut & Style series are Barbie, despite the difference in hair color (the red-haired doll of this series is often mistakenly called “Midge”).

I sometimes meet very expensive Barbies, and old toys sometimes go up in price! Does it mean that investing in a collection of dolls is profitable?

Dolls as an investment are a very difficult and often unpredictable thing because firstly, you need to know WHAT to buy, secondly, you need to know how and where to sell later, and thirdly, between the moment of purchasing the doll and the moment when it will rise in price significantly, it may take a dozen years. So collect Barbies for fun, and invest in something more reliable, such as precious metals. 

Is it true that Barbie develops early sexuality, a passion for glamor and consumerism in young girls?

Not. “Early sexuality” purportedly caused by Barbie is a long-shattered myth. As for glamor and cave consumerism, it is not Barbie who instills the passion for it in the baby, but the TV, mother’s glossy magazines, or a good example of others. Without an adult doll (Barbie), the role model of an adult girl cannot be played, especially with her (and various dolls of her type, among which there are even grandparents from Mattel) an unlimited number of plots can be played out – from fantasy to family. The official “legend” of Mattel means nothing to the girl-owner herself. And the postulate that girls are useful and girls should only play with dolls (motherhood) and with man-made rag dolls (either Waldorf or a type of peasant doll made of rags), have long been morally obsolete.

Why are there so many old Barbie dolls in boxes on sale now – 1980s, 1990s? Where do they come from? Are these fakes, or are such dolls produced now?

No, these dolls are not produced now. All these are genuine dolls of their time. Such a large number of old dolls have been preserved in boxes because in the eighties the real boom of Barbie collecting began. And if before that only a few collectors left their dolls in boxes (or dolls were “lying around” in warehouses – warehouse find), then in the 1980s many collectors began to purposefully leave Barbies in their native packaging (and sometimes even in shippers – cardboard boxes for transportation ) both for aesthetic reasons and for speculative purposes. Many people bought two or more dolls of the same article, hoping for a rise in the market price. Almost all NRFB Barbies, exhibited on ebay.com at the present time, as well as those sold from “dealers” all over the world and Russia, including from the stocks of such collectors.

In the Barbie catalogs of the 1990s, I sometimes see pictures of dolls that I have never seen in my life / and neither on sale nor in encyclopedias. What is the reason for this?

It is important to pay attention to what exactly is advertised on specific pages – the dolls themselves or their outfits. Advertisements for outfits were usually printed on the back pages of catalogs. In the comments to the photographs, there was also a clarification that it was the outfit that was being demonstrated. However, the “model” doll itself might not have existed as a production release. For unclear reasons, some of the outfits in the catalogs featured original “model” dolls that never entered the market. But if the doll you are looking for is listed in the catalog as a real release, it just might be very rare. Plus, it is highly likely that it appears on the American (i.e. main) doll market under a different name: detailed catalogs-magazines, as a rule, were published in German, and the names of dolls for the German market were indicated there.