Do you know the toy store FAO Schwarz in New York? Probably not if you’re not a habitant from New York or a Barbie collectors. Why do I talk about the shop here?
Well in the last weeks there was an article that the shop should move. The shop belonged for a while to the Toys’r’us company which failed for bankcrupcy in 2017. In 2016 the Threesixty group bought it from TRU. Obviously they have great plans for the oldest toy store of the USA. There are plans to open a shop in the legendary Rockefeller Center in November 2018 and an additional shop in LAGuardia airport.
The shop was known to Barbie collectors for their special FAO Schwarz dolls from the 1990s and 2000s. I have some of them but not all. I really like the creativity from the 1990s. Below you can see some pics.
The shop was also known for it’s big piano installed on the floor ( which can be seen in the movie “Big”with Tom Hanks which was filmed in the 5th Avenue Shop in 1988.
In the last months I had problems with my old sewing machine. I needed an incredible long to find out where the problem was. It was the position of the needle holder. Found it out, fixed it. Next problem. I wanted to sew with a fine cotton fabric. Unfortunately my machine didn’t like the fabric. Maybe it was a problem caused by age but anyway she produced so many mistakes that I decided to buy a new one.
I did a long research about fabrics and old sewing machines, needles for the machine. I tried anything but the result didn’t change much. Then I started to look round for a new sewing machine. It was no easy task. There is a wide range of sewing machines. At first I thought it was really difficult but then somebody made the suggestion on youtube to make a list what you want your new sewing machine to have. The list helped me a lot. I watched several videos to learn about different features. I got to know features I never heard of like the regulation of the sewing foot pressure and many other things like the IDT ( integrated dual transport) for fragile fabrics very useful.
I also went to a local shop and they showed me some machines. So I finally came to my decision that I wanted to have the Pfaff Quilt Ambition 2.0. I don’t plan to quilt in the future but I think some of the features are very handy for future Barbie sewing projects.
I was recently told that there are several undocumented Barbie dolls produced by under license by Basa in Peru. It made me curious and I was offered to buy one of them. To be honest I never heard of Miss Yanbal before. Maybe her title is similar to Miss Universe. I don’t know exactly.
What I know is that she’s from 1985 and it seems like she originally came in a bathsuit with white and golden lace and a sash that says “Miss Yanbal 1985”.
Interesting to know is that she has no markings her body. There are obviously some Basa Barbie dolls that have no marks. It seems that some have marks and some not. Among the collectors it caused confusion in the past. Some said that without a marking the dolls are clones.
I admit in the last months I found lots of Congost Barbie dolls from Spain. I have no idea why but I buy the dolls when they become available somewhere. My latest find is a Spanish version of the Magic Moves Barbie. I have no idea what her name is. I bought her as Spanish Magic Moves version. She is indeed different from the US version. It seems that the boxed dolls from Spain are extremely hard to find so I bought mine without any box. She still has 95% of her hair (which is quite good for a Barbie doll from Spain). She also has her complete make up. This time no problems with repaints. The only thing she’s missing is her original outfit. At the moment she’s wearing a mini dress. I’m not sure to which Barbie doll the dress belongs.
The mechanism does not work anymore but I don’t care very much about it.
Last week I got a parcel from Spain with an unusual content. I got my first Barbie dolls from Venezuela. I saw them recently and bought them immediately. What’s so special about Barbie from Venezuela? Well, they are hard to find in Europe. They were produced by Rotoplast in Venezuela similar like the one from Basa I wrote about last week. I learned that the hair quality is quite good. It seems that the make up on the cheeks was normal make up for humans. It obviously happens often that the make up from the cheeks is gone first. I think that’s interesting to know.
With a little help of a collector from South America I was able to identify all three.
The first one with the hair cut is called Melocotón Barbie doll. She’s from 1986 and the Peach n Cream version from Venezuela.
The second one is called Barbie para Vestir what means “Barbie to dress” in English. She was the hardest one of the 3 to identify. She’s from 1992. I was also told that she has a fabrication error ( the strange thing you can see on her neck).
The last one is called Aqua Marina Barbie and was released in 1990.
I wasn’t able to find out much about a Peruvian company called Basa but they produced Barbie dolls from 1980 til 1991 under license for Mattel. I recently found a Workout Barbie doll from Peru and that’s why I’m writing about it right now. The skin tone is much more orange than usual. She reminds me of Royal Barbie from her skin tone.The smell is also different from normal Barbie dolls. I don’t really know how to describe it but it’s different.
Here she comes…
As you can see she has the marking on her butt and not on her back. And you can see the name Peru written in big letters so that you can’t oversee it. I was surprised to see it on her butt. At first I searched on her back.
Do you know that you can buy Barbie on the Phillipines t00? It’s possible since 1989. Obviously the island nation liked the doll so much that she became a hit there. I recently got two Barbie dolls from the Phillipines (Santacruzan Reyna Emperiatrix Barbie in dark magenta velvet and Flores de Mayo Reyna Mora in blue). As far as I know these dolls were produced under license by Richwell or at least sold by Richwell there. The basic idea is that the children should not forget their Spanish heritage.
When you’re looking for suitable books I can recommend you these books:
The Collectible Barbie Doll: An Illustrated Guide to Her Dreamy World, by Janine Fennick (1996)
Barbie Doll Around the World 1964-2007: Identification & Values by Michael Augustyniak (2007)
The Ultimate Barbie Doll Book by Marcie Mellilo (1996)
Barbie Fashion Vol. I – III by Sarah Sink Eames (1990)
Skipper Barbie doll’s little sister, second edition by Cottingham, Arend and Hemingway (2011)
The story of Barbie by Kitturah Westenhouser (1994)
It’s All About the Accessories for the World?s Most Fashionable Dolls 1959-1972 by Hillary Shilkitus James (2017)
And when you’re looking online for information:
e-book: Barbie® Talks!: An Unauthorized Exposé of the First Talking Barbie® Doll: An Expose’ of the First Talking Barbie Doll. The Humorous and Poignant Adventures of Two Former Mattel Toy Designers (2001)
https://barbieinthehouse.com/2017 (for Vintage and MOD Barbie dolls)
http://papusilemele.com/en/ (when you search for information about the latest Barbie collector dolls)
http://www.sewingandpattern.com/all-barbie-patterns/ ( Source for free patterns)
Have you ever heard from a company named Congost? Me neither until I found a very interesting book written by Michael Augustyniak. In the meantime he died but I still have the book and think it is a good source to get an overview what the global Barbie doll market has to offer. Recently I found several Spanish Barbie dolls made for the Spanish market ( not for the rest of Europe). Of course a collector wants to own what they can’t own. That’s the desire of collecting ( I think). Anyway, since I speak Spanish it’s no problem to look around. I did so and found some nice dolls in a short while.
What I found out in the meantime is that Congost got a license to produce Barbie dolls for the Spanish market in the late 1970s. Obviously they produced until the early 1990s. In the mid 1990s they can’t be found anymore. I assume that the capacity for production grew big enough in China in these years. It seems that there is/ was a problem with the quality. I saw some dolls with deformed arms and legs and missing hair. Barbie dolls in good condition from Congost seem to be hard to find. Why? No idea, I still investigate the problem.
Here’s a short video that shows some Congost Barbie dolls.I’m not sure if all are shown or not.
Here are some pics from my Congost Barbie dolls.
The skin tone is sometime a bit strange and the make up seems to disappear more often than from US version Barbie dolls. Here you can see what I mean in pics.