Barbie has been around for a long time, she was born when Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel, observed her daughter Barbara playing with paper dolls for hours. This sparked Ruth’s vision to create a 3-D doll for girls to play out their dreams. Then, in 1959, the first Barbie doll-named after Ruth’s daughter-made its debut at New York Toy Fair.
Vintage Barbie Dolls, generally, are those made from 1959 to 1966. They are highly collectible, and are the most valuable. The first Barbies featured ponytails and were given numbers, with lower numbers being more valuable. Vintage clothes from this era are also something you can collect. Mint and complete outfits, though harder to find, are worth quite a lot. As Barbie evolved, her hairstyle changed as well. Bubblecuts, swirl ponytails, and wigs featured prominently throughout the vintage era.
All Barbie dolls made after 1973 are classified as contemporary dolls. They include Barbie Pink Label or “Pink Box” dolls and Barbie Collector dolls. Holiday Barbie appeared in 1988 and became hugely popular as collectors for adults. The Fashion Model Collection appeared in 2000 featuring the vintage Barbie face, and has been very popular with vintage collectors. Other popular Collector Barbies include Porcelain types, the Great Eras dolls, and Dolls of the World. Mattel started using label colors to differentiate Barbies in 2001. Silver indicates collectible dolls with a production run of 50,000. Gold Label Barbies are rarer, with only 25,000 produced. Platinum Label Barbies are numbered editions with less than 1,000 made.
Barbies are a highly collectable item, and some of them are worth a lot of money. But collecting Barbies from different eras can be a rewarding and personal endeavor, and displaying them can be a lot of fun, too!