The new Barbie movie has rekindled a love for the famous doll – but is your old toy worth a fortune?
The movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling will hit theaters this summer.
Old Barbies can command high prices for collectors. So how do you know if you’re sitting on a gold mine?
“Barbie dolls are part of a limited-edition or special-edition collection that often has a high value,” toy and doll expert Simon Farnworth told The Sun.
He has been collecting Barbie dolls since the late 90s and runs Simon’s Collectibles (dollstoysngifts.co.uk), an online shop for collectors of adult dolls and toys.
Simon adds: “These dolls often feature unique designs, collaborations with celebrities, or celebrate important events – for example: Barbie Barbie Gold brand Ziggy Stardust 2019 themed David Bowie, originally sold for around £50, now costs over £300. “
Barbie collaborations with famous designers and fashion brands – such as Christian Dior, Versace or Vera Wang – are also sought after by collectors.
“A recent example of this is the recent collaboration between Barbie and artist Mark Ryden, which was released exclusively on the Barbie Creations website last year,” he said.
“Pink Pop Barbie Mark Ryden x Barbie Doll has doubled in value.”
Vintage Barbie dolls – made between 1959 and 1972 – can be pricey.
“The pieces from the early years of production are most sought after by collectors,” says Simon.
“For example, an original ‘number 1’ Barbie from 1959, in good condition and in a box, can sell for up to £25,000.”
Also very popular were Barbies from what was known as the “mod era” of the late 60s and 70s when the doll was given a makeover, the belt ‘twisted and turned’ and the wardrobe of the sixties swayed.
He explains: “The UK was also highly influential with the birth of Francie, Barbie’s British cousin and Twiggy dolls – both valued and sought-after dolls in their own right. they.
But don’t despair if your Barbie doll collection isn’t too old – your ’90s dolls can be worth a lot, too.
“The Pink Box era (1980-1990s) marked Barbie’s popularity as she replaced Sindy as the best-selling doll,” says Simon.
Many collectors are very nostalgic for dolls and accessories from this time.
Dolls like Super Star Barbie, Barbie and the Rockers, and the all-time best-selling Barbie, Totally Hair Barbie, can fetch high prices.
Even dolls from the 21st century can be valuable – especially the Barbie Silkstone line introduced in 2000.
“With vintage-inspired design, high-quality craftsmanship, limited production runs, and exceptional ‘porcelain-like’ vinyl, Barbie Lady Of The Manor Silkstone dolls from 2011 could have prices from £700 and up,” said Simon.
Some Barbie accessories can also be good value for money.
He added: “Rarity is key here. For example, one of the ‘holy grails’ of the Barbie house is the extremely rare 1990s Barbie Magic House.
“The ones in good condition can sell for several thousand pounds.”
Simon’s top tip for knowing if your vintage Barbie is worth it is to study her body markings.
“Most dolls will have the label ‘©1966 Mattel, Inc’. This often gets people excited thinking they have a vintage doll,” he says.
However, it would only be vintage if the label stated that they were made in Japan, since that’s where Barbies were made until 1972.
If the dolls were made in Mexico, China, Indonesia or Malaysia, they could have been made anytime to this day.”
Your Barbie doesn’t have to be in top condition to create value.
“I would say that even the most unloved Barbie will be valuable to someone,” says Simon.
Many collectors will be looking for beloved dolls to restore or turn into “one-of-a-kind” (OOAK) creations.
If you have several dolls like this, you can try putting them together to sell,” advises Simon.
However, the condition of a Barbie doll greatly affects its value – so dolls your child scribbles all over won’t fetch a high price.
“Dolls that are in their original packaging, unopened and in excellent condition will be worth more than dolls that show signs of wear or damage,” says Simon.
“This includes things like face paint, hair, clothes and the general condition of the doll.
“Hair has been cut, fingers or toes have been gnawed, and ‘doing up’ at home with felt tips is a no-no for most collectors!”
Top 10 valuable Barbie dolls
- Karl Lagerfeld Barbie (2014) Only 900 dolls were released. This doll originally cost £135 but has sold for more than £8,000 since the designer passed away.
- Totally Hair Barbie (1992) The best-selling Barbie doll ever can be sold for £150 complete and in good condition.
- Whitney’s Full Hair (1992) Barbie’s version of Barbie’s Total Hair, Whitney, can be sold for an even higher £800, if still in her box.
- Coach Barbie (2013) This doll is a collaboration with accessory brand Coach and can be sold for over £1,000.
- Happy Holidays Barbie (1988) Many earlier Happy Holidays dolls can fetch a high price, especially the 1988 version, which can sell for £100-£200 if in good condition and boxed.
- Talking Barbie (1968) If boxed, this doll is very popular and can cost up to 700 pounds.
- Golden Dream Barbie (1980) This ‘Age of Superstars’ doll can cost £160 in the box and up to £400 in the ‘Special’ edition.
- The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee (2022) Barbie doll was hugely popular upon release and can sell for over £200 online (but beware of fakes that also flood online auctions).
- The recently released Barbie Tina Turner doll is sure to increase in price after her death.
- Girls Aloud Fashion Fever Barbie doll. Recently, a full set of these dolls went on sale on eBay for £150.
How to sell your Barbie doll
There are many different ways to sell your old Barbies.
“The obvious places are online marketplaces like eBay, Etsy and Amazon,” said Simon.
They also allow you to reach international markets and achieve higher prices and are also a good way to value a doll or collection by looking at the items that have been sold on the site.
If you’re confident that your Barbie is of high value, check out a professional collectibles auction.
Auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Bonhams often hold special auctions for collectible toys and dolls.
“They have built a reputation and attract serious collectors who may be willing to pay premium prices for rare and valuable pieces,” says Simon.
“Keep in mind that there may be fees and commissions when selling through auctions,” he advises.
Other options are to go to a toy or collectibles fair or contact a collector’s agent.
“These agents have expertise in pricing and selling collectibles and may be interested in buying your more valuable Barbies,” says Simon.
As always, be aware that you are never guaranteed to make a fortune.