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Past Newsletter Article Archive
Barbie Doll Turns 50 Years Old

Vintage Barbie Turns Fifty

A picture joke has been going around e-mail circles recently of a very heavy-set blond woman in a reclined position with a caption that reads Barbie at Fifty.  Another picture on the Internet shows her aging more gracefully with a few wrinkles around her eyes and a mane of gray hair.  Even though she turned fifty in February, the iconic doll that has been a favorite of many generations, is still enjoying popularity and will probably survive another fifty years.  Barbie has always been a favorite with collectors as well.

A few years ago, the Kovels, Ralph and Terry, who are two of the utmost authorities on antiques and collectibles and who also have a very popular newsletter, suggested that smart collectors should buy the Barbie and Tanner the Dog Play Set as an investment. The also suggested that the buyer keep it in its original container unopened, which is what most toy collectors do anyway and they said it would be worth more in the future.  But will we have to wait fifty years for this doll to appreciate in price? Probably not.

In 2006, we wrote about a Barbie doll auction that brought in more than $211,000.  That auction included a 1965 Barbie in Midnight Red which sold for more that $18,000 on its own.  That was the price paid for a vintage collectible.  As we watch Barbie age more over the years and become a true antique, her price is sure to rise at a quicker pace.  Prices will always be higher for those that keep the dolls in good condition, still in the package and with all accessories.

Ten Interesting Facts About Barbie

  • Barbie was invented by Ruth Handler in 1959 and named her after her daughter Barbara.
  • Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
  • You can buy a Barbie doll in more than 150 countries around the world.
  • According to Mattel, three Barbie dolls are sold around the world every second.
  • Barbie has five sisters; Skippy, Tutti, Stacie, Kelly and Krissie.
  • Barbie has been diversified to look like forty five different nationalities.
  • Barbie has had over ninety five careers including astronaut, soldier, bathing beauty pin-up and presidential candidate.
  • Barbie had to go under the knife to make her body more realistic because critics complained that her original 36 -18 – 33 body was unrealistic for a woman of 5’9”.
  • Mattel believes that there are over 100,000 Barbie collectors around the globe, most of which are middle aged women.
  • Her boyfriend Ken has been around since 1961, with a break in the relationship from 2004-2006, after which they got back together.