Sometimes the time goes by really fast. That’s how it feels when I look back. I really started 22 years ago with Collecting Collector Barbie as she was called in the last 10 years. When I started in late 1996 the whole collector thing was known as Barbie Collectibles. I still have some advertising and catalouges from back then. All of them were made very high-quality. I guess the input to produce the whole thing was very expensive and very time consuming back then. Not to forget to mention that it was a very expensive hobby since single dolls were very expensive and at first I had to convince my parents to drive with me to special toy stores where they were sold. You were never sure what to find. It was not like ordering online. It was still unknown to most people. I got my first book online ordered in 2003. Man, that was a thing… and the delivery time for English books to Germany was 4 weeks from amazon.
In the last decades I got to know many Barbie collectors. Some collected only for a short while. Other are long time collectors like me. What we all have in common is a topic to talk about. Although it became easier to order the dolls online you often still need the help of other collectors because there’s always you want and can’t buy immediately.
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.
Have you bought doll stands for Barbie dolls in the last months? I bought some and I’d like to talk about the latest trend. I prefer metal stands for Barbie dolls but they are currently hard to find in good old Germany. I have no idea why but I have been searching for month and found no ones. I have some Kaiser doll stands and some no name stands in my collection. One doll stand is better than no doll stand. Anyway. It seems that in the last year doll stands from China have flooded the market. They are widely available and cheap. The processing is not bad and as a quick solution as transition they are okay in my opinion. Furthermore there is the advantage that just can adjust them to the size you need for Barbie, Skipper or Francie.
Nevertheless I have doubts that they may melt on the doll when using them for a long time solution. But I haven’t had the problem until now.
Have you ever asked yourself what kind of material they used for Barbie hair? I did ask myself this question years ago and I found the answer. The answer is not so easy to explain. The material changed within the years. I’m not 100% sure but I think the early Barbie( 1959 – 1984?) dolls had Saran hair only. Some of the early Barbie dolls and their friends have the problem that the hair feeling is similar to straw. Maybe they changed the composition of materials within the decades?
Anyway, nowadays you can buy Saran hair, Nylon hair and Kanekalon hair ( used from the late 1980s on ).
You can see Saran on the right and Nylon on the left. Nylon hair was used for the Rockers and Rockstar series in the mid 1980s. I assume there are more Barbie dolls with Nylon hair but I don’t have all of them so that I can look it up. Nylon hair is much shinier than Saran hair. Saran hair is available in natural colours like blond, brunette, titian and black. The main difference is the effort to style it. Nylon hair is easy to style. Just one hot water treatment and the job is done. For Saran you need more effort. It’s not so easy to bring it in any form you want it to. It has a kind own character.
The third material is Kanekalon hair. Kanekalon was first seen in the late 1980s and has a feeling like wadding. It’s also called wadding hair among collectors. It was mainly used for the 1990s dolls with massive amounts of hair like Totally Hair Barbie or Jewel Hair Barbie. I assume the reason they used it is the price. Saran is more expensive. Hollywood Hair on the other hand has Saran hair. Kanekalon hair tends to tangles. You think you have all tangles out and bang new ones are in. No problems for collectors but for children a real nightmare.
Kanekalon was widely used for Barbie dolls in the 1990s. Ski Fun Barbie & Midge, Paint n Dazzle Barbie and many more had Kanekalon hair. There are a few exceptions like the Strolling Fun Barbie & Kelly.
Maybe you are interested in starting a Vintage Barbie collection too but you have no idea how to identify the early Ponytail Barbie dolls with all variations of Make up and hair colors. Here are two pics that might help you. I found them recently and think they are very useful.
I have heard many of my fellows collectors talking about this topic. To be honest it’s no easy to answer the question. Is it a good store of value? Is it a bad store of value? Should we consider it as store of value?
In my opinion we shouldn’t consider it as store of value. I collect Barbie dolls because I like the option to have a possibility to have fashions from the most different decades in one room. I don’t collect because of the monetary value. It’s the most important reason to have fun with your collection.
Today Barbie celebrates her 58th Anniversary. She was presented first on the New York Toy Show in March 1959. Since then she had a lot of friends, a lot of cars, a lot of houses and lots of pets as well as horses. She gave us courage as kids to try out new things like being a female astronaut. She always was the fashion icon of the time. To me Barbie always had the significance of being something very positive. She had something mysterious that was also interesting. I got my first Barbie doll from one of my grandmothers. I got a Crystal Barbie (1983) and I still have her in my collection. I think this was one of the first milestones in my interest in Barbie. My wish to the birthday girl is that she may be produced for further 58 years. I think she’ll have the right dress for the party in her closet.
I would like to mention that Ken also celebrates his birthday this week. He’s only two years younger than Barbie and was introduced in 1961 as Ken (Kenneth). Ken was created as the boyfriend of Barbie and also introduced on the New York Toy Show in 1961.
In the last weeks some researchers did some research in behalf of the Toy Museum in Nuremberg how to store old Barbie dolls the best way. The researchers found out that it is the best to store the old dolls in a cool, dry and dark environment. Here’s the link to the German article http://www.deutschlandradiokultur.de/spielzeugmuseum-in-nuernberg-barbie-forever-young.1008.de.html?dram:article_id=379793 .
I don’t know if this was published in English speaking countries too. If it’s not you can use google translator for reading it.
I haven’t posted much articles in the last weeks but I promise to do more in the next weeks. At the moment I have two projects running and I neglect my blog more than the other project. So stay tuned in what may come in the next weeks.
I don’t know how it is in the rest of the world but Germany well known auctioneers try get private Barbie collectors out of their company. They only want professional dealers and no private individuals anymore. That’s very sad. Several days ago I had an idea. Maybe this could be a solution. I had the idea to offer a platform where private Barbie collectors could meet. If collector A has a doll which misses several plugs and collector B is able to fix it, they could deal with each other. When collector A needs help she/he gets the help of another collector, a system that works almost without money.
Collector A could offer something collector B is looking for. The deal could also include serveral people. If collector A is searching someone to reroot serveral plugs and offers a dress collector c is looking for but collector b can help with the reroot and collector c would offer collector b a dress she is looking for, then they could also deal.
Of course this idea is not perfect. At least we would need a feedback system and we had to control who participates in the system since too many black sheeps destroy the market. And of course there should be a regulation that only real Barbie dolls and their belongings should be part of the deals. Clones would also destroy the market.