Barbie doll wiki: Barbie variations

Yeah, the crazy Barbie collector is back with a new topic. Today I’d like to tell you a little bit more about the theme of Barbie variations. For some collectors it’s the icing on the cake. For some other collectors is it uninteresting. It’s depending on your area on interest.

My ideas why

Let’s keep in mind that the make up was at least partly done by hand. Handmade is handmade. No doubt. Handmade things differ. It’s in the human nature. We see things in different ways and we do things in different ways. That’s clear. We also know that there is a kind of samples for every Barbie doll. I can’t prove it but I think there’re samples in every production plant but maybe due to a lack of colors not every plant did the work in the same way. That’s the most logical explaination for what could have happened and how variations probably into life.

Some collectors like differences

With the emergence of the internet it became much easier to buy Barbie dolls. The range of the worldwide offered Barbie dolls became much bigger than it was ever before. Suddenly the whole world became a village and buying became easier than ever before. The years of release played no role anymore. You did not need a magazine to find what you were looking for (like it was before). You could tell your friends about special offers within minutes. I already to you about the difference of the make-up between different countries but it does not mean that it’s everywhere the same one. We have differences in the production plants and we have differences in the taste of the population. A lack of a special color can of course cause a difference in the outward appearance of a Barbie doll. Sure.

The internet however made it possible for collector to notice these differences. I can’t speak for other collectors but would have never seen the differences if we had never talked about them. You can have one doll from three different plants and you have three different Barbie dolls. I know it sounds strange but it is the truth and I can prove it. Some collectors have one Barbie from x countries or factories and you see the variations. It’s sometimes incredible. And incredibly interesting too.

Let me show you an example. I have four Magic Curl Barbie dolls. Three of them are from Taiwan and number four comes from Spain.

There are popular but hard to find variations

I hope you understand what I want to say in the section above. Some of these variations are hard to find and some collectors spend big sums to get them. One of the first variations was the very first Midge with teeth. I don’t know how many Midge dolls with teeth were painted but I estimate between 1% or 2% of the whole production.

Midge is not the only example. There are lots and lots of variations in the Barbie history. Some came into existence because the plants had rests which they used. Mattel is known for the use of leftovers.

Barbie doll wiki: Why were black Barbie dolls suddenly available?

Have you ever asked yourself why suddenly in 1980 black Barbie dolls became available? It seems that the year 1980 marked one turning point in the barbie world. The why is a really good question. I’m not 100% but I think I read in a book that a law was changed by the time of 1980 and it became possible for Mattel to produce black Barbie dolls that were called “Barbie” for the first time. Sadly I wasn’t able to find out the name of the law.

I’ve been searching on the internet for the correct information but I found nothing. The correct information is necessary I think. Anyway I don’t know if you realized it or not but before the black version of Barbie was called Christie. She’s a friend of Barbie, not Barbie herself.

In a way this is very astonishing since nobody ever thought of a black Barbie doll. That is at least my impression. What we should not forget is that she still had Caucasian features. In my opinion they are not 100% copies of their white sisters but they have a similarity of at least 70%. Of course the hair color is different. The make-up is different, adjusted to the skin tone. That’s not bad. In my eyes we got some very interesting variations through it. Let’s have for instance a look at Jewel Hair Mermaid Barbie in the Caucasian version and the African-America version.

Not the only change in 1980

What we can see from the catalogs is that in 1980 the variety of Barbie dolls became much broader than it was before. Suddenly we saw an Asian Barbie doll and a Hispanic Barbie for the first time beside the black Barbie dolls. The range of products extended. We were introduced to the “Dolls of the world” line. Seen from a marketing point of view Mattel maybe now wanted to teach something.

Sieh dir diesen Beitrag auf Instagram an

“Oriental Barbie”, lançada em 1980 pela Mattel. Sob o slogan “Meet the Barbie from Hong Kong, and learn about the orient”, essa pérola chinesa chegou quando a linha “Dolls Of The World”, começada em 1979, ainda estava engatinhando. O molde facial criado para ela foi posteriormente usado para uma das amigas da loira, mais conhecida como Kira. Com uma franja que é um pesadelo à parte, essa maravilhosa está toda original, faltando apenas o leque de papelão (veio sem, infelizmente), e o medalhão, que optei por não usar. #OrientalBarbie #HongKong #DollsOfTheWorld #BarbieAntiga #BarbieVintage #Barbie #Mattel #BonecaAntiga #BonecasAntigas #BrinquedoAntigo #BrinquedosAntigos #FashionDoll #VintageFashionDoll #Boneca #Bonecas #Brinquedo #Brinquedos #Vintage #Fashion #Doll #Dolls #Early80s #Anos80 #1980

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Guilherme J. Foti (@guifoti) am

What we can definitive say is that the 1980s were a decade of big variety concerning Barbie dolls. The Superstar Barbie was launched successfully in 1977 with a new head mold and maybe they wanted to enlarge the success by adding a variety of different Barbie dolls. Music became a very big topic in the Barbie world, not just as a listener but as a musician herself Barbie reinvented herself several times. Barbie and the Rockers sold well.

Seen from a point of view in 2019 the 80s are a very interesting decade for Barbie collectors. Again you find collectors who seek their childhood treasures, collectors who were not even born in that era, collectors who collect all decades and some specialized collectors (who e.g only collect the clothes from the 1980s). We find a big variety. It’s not just one topic like in the 1990s the hair- thing.

Barbie doll wiki: What is my Barbie doll worth?

I’m sure that I’m not the only collector whose enthusiasm about this question keeps within its limits. You may ask me why? The problem is that the wrong guys ask these questions. The main problem is that the questioner have no idea of what they have and sometimes the insight that the doll is not worthwhile at all.

The 1966 marking

Believe it or not but the 1966 Barbie doll marking was used for more than 40 years and the dolls with the marking on the back are not as seldom as the ones with the 1966 marking on their butt. Furthermore the mentioning of Japan on the butt is a feature that your doll is really from the 1960s. Later the production was relocated to Korea, Taiwan and many other countries in South-East Asia. At first Japan was the cheapest country in Asia for the production. That’s why Mattel produced the dolls there after WW II.

I don’t want to disgress from the 1966 topic. The 1966 shows us only one thing. The patent for the Twist and Turn Barbie body was patented in that year. Before 1966 the legs were stiff and had no joints. The same counts for the waist. Suddenly Barbie got a moveable waist. Early Barbie dolls have no joints at all.

That’s one of the biggest problems for collectors. We don’t want to be seen as cash cows. Sorry, we don’t buy everything. We have books that tell us how old your doll is. If we don’t want it, your doll is worthless. Worth is in the eye of the beholder.

What makes Barbie dolls worthwhile?

The worth of a Barbie doll is in the eye of the beholder. Rejects, Barbie dolls from the pilot production or just samples that never to any market are highly sought after. Of course Barbie dolls that were produced for foreign markets are also interesting for some collectors. Japan, Spain or countries in Middle and South America offer a wide range of products that set a collectors heart aflutter. In Japan Mattel did in the 1960s special Barbie dolls and clothes exclusively for the Japanese market. That’s why I have some Barbie books that have Japanese Barbie dolls and clothes as the main focus. There are lots of Japanese versions of the Barbie clothes that have different fabrics, details or colors. For some collectors that’s an attraction pole. The sample Barbie dolls from the pilot production for the market test were often taken home by Mattel employees. Do I need to say that there is a market among the collectors for these dolls? I guess not.

Every collector is a hunter

Please don’t forget that there is the fact that there is a certain attractiveness for collectors. The harder the Barbie doll is to find or to get the more attractive the doll is. For me are Spanish Barbie dolls interesting. They are different from the normal European/Canadian versions. That’s what makes them interesting for me. The ones from India are not even completely recorded in any book. The South American Barbie dolls have a special make-up, much more eye-catching than the US versions. There are also dolls that are rare. Some of these rare Barbie dolls are Photo Fashion PJ or Hawaiian Superstar Barbie. I think Hawaiian Superstar Barbie was available in Europe/Canada only.

I can’t tell you anything about the sales figures of Photo Fashion PJ but I think she was not sold in limited quantity.

The value is what somebody is willing to pay for your doll

There’s not really a right or wrong concerning the payment. One of the important factors is the demand. You probably get more money when there is a demand for your doll. When the output figures are high the price is low. It’s not advisable to push the price.

The Barbie doll wiki: The truth about her collectors

Believe it or not, but there is a truth about all her collectors. The truth is that her admirers are all different. They have different motives to collect. What we all have in common is the passion for one doll – Barbie doll. Some consider her as shero, icon, object of desire or childhood memory. Some try to look like Barbie or they have a Barbie tattoo or do strange things with their bodies to look like Barbie. I think I differ from my fellow collectors in the case that I don’t want simply to collect or have a look at the dolls but I also want to learn. The learning motive is something likely to be forgotten.

Do I need only one motive to collect?

When the TV people come they are always open for sensations. You often read about the proportion stuff. You know her body is unrealistic. I know it too, but I never felt the desire to look like Barbie. My motives are different. I’ve been interested in learning about fashion and fashion history since I was ten years old. At that time I had the first lessons in history and we learned about ancient Egypt and I wondered how the people back then ran around. What did they wear? Did the wall paintings in the Pyramids tell the truth? Could somebody wear the fashion from back then nowadays? I know not every 10-year old girl would ask herself these questions, but I’ve had a thirst for knowledge.

Brand-awareness in pre-teens?

In the mid 90s when I was 10 years old I saw my fellow classmates wearing fashion from certain brands. The older we grew the more brands appeared. I also started to wonder what these brands wanted to tell me. How did the fashions looked like? That was the time when many Designer Labels did a Barbie doll like Macy, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and many more. The clothes themselves were way much too expensive for me, but I saw it as a way to have something from these brands at home. Something in the long run, not like the clothes you wear and throw away later. I really loved the Escada Barbie from 1996 the first time ever I saw her in a catalog. I have some of the Designer Barbies from the mid 1990s but not all. I sold my regular Playline Barbie dolls for the Designer Barbie dolls. They were very expensive back then. Little did I know about what would later come.

Interests in collecting expanded

I’m a long time collector and I don’t regret it to be one. Collecting things is in my blood. I got the genes from my parents. I started back in1996 and I knew I wanted to be a collector. For 10 years collecting itself was okay, but my interests expanded. My interest in Playline dolls, the ones with the pink boxes that you’ve probably seen until the early 2000s grew. So I started also to collect some 90s Barbie dolls I had when I was little. They were not expensive back then and ebay the place to go. That was the time my interest changed for the first time a bit, but it wasn’t the only time. In the early 2000s amazon offered books in Germany too, and it was the first time I had access to them. Before it was complicated to order non-German books.

Social Media is helpful

So after my first book purchases from amazon I learned about early Barbie fashions, identification and got in contact with other collectors for the first time. That’s good and bad at the same time. It’s good because you can learn a lot, meet new friends and buy Barbie dolls you are looking for. You can learn about the release of new dolls. That’s positive, but there are also negative effects like stalkers. They try to give you a hard time. Like in every community there is jealousy. I found my interest in doing extended research and doing repairs the Social Media. I saw some other collectors did it and I tried it and had success.

No negative effects in my life

I’ve never had the wish to transform myself into a Barbie doll. That may attract other persons, but I’ve never had the wish. Barbie is good the way she is. No doubts. I’ve learned many things and read about interesting books I’ve probably never read without my interest in this fashion doll. I’ve even learned languages with her help, but I realized it all later. My interest in sewing fashions grew. I started to deal with making patterns for Barbie dresses. The understanding of techniques is what I want. I have many more books that wait for me. Let’s see if I can learn Japanese to get more knowledge. I know that’s crazy, but it’s me.