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.
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.
My article this week is about useful cleaning material for Barbie dolls one should have. It’s important to have some easy to use things at home when you plan to buy old Barbie dolls. There are some things in every household that are very useful when we come to the topic of cleaning a Barbie doll.
To be honest I clean every Barbie doll I get if she comes without a box. That’s sometimes a lot of work especially when you buy a whole group of dolls. Believe as a longtime collector that will occur from time to time. Not every week, not every month but occasionally. What do you need for such an occasion?
Useful cleaning products
My little survival kit is a box of Q-Tips and rubbing alcohol ( at least 70%). You use the Q-Tips for a quick sip of rubbing alcohol. It is normally used for cleaning electronic devices, especially for cleaning dirty or old contacts. I highly recommend rubbing alc. I’ve never had any problems with it until now and I got the hint in 2011.
What else is useful for use at home? I can recommend you cleaning sponges from Aldi. There are several different products that are sold under the name but it seems that the chemicals attached to the sponges are different.
I heard of collectors that got problems with these sponges but I never had any problems with them. If the Q-Tip/rubbing alc combination is not working use the sponge. It brings sometimes benefits to have one at home.
What other collectors do
I’ve heard from other collectors that they use a mild soap and a sponge to clean their dolls. In almost 23 years of collecting I’ve never done it. Why? You can’t exclude the risk that the knee joints get wet especially when you clean Twist n Turn Barbie dolls from the first generation around 1967 since the have metal knee joints that tend to oxide when you work with water. It means in the worst situation they oxide and leave an ugly brown or greenish area around the knee. It’s the goal of most Barbie collectors to prevent these stains. The only I thing I can do is warn you about problem.
The ultimate clean Barbie doll?
Well, you might ask yourself if there is the ultimate clean Barbie doll. The answer is no. This comes due to the fact that the arms, legs and the head are made from a form of PVC and rubber and it’s hard to keep rubber clean itself. I already told you that there are problems with sticky legs and leaking softener. Here’s a short video how to do it.
Is the leaking softener a problem of the age
No, the leaking softener is no problem of the age. All I know about the problem is that it’s no age problem. The probability to find it in all decades from 1959 until today is high. I’m not so familiar with chemistry but read about the phenomenon and it is said that is has to do with the mixtures they use in the production machines. Obviously the recipe was changed a bit over the decades and sometimes you have problems that appear like 1987 the cow spots, that were caused by iron shavings in the mixture.
Other useful things to have a home for Barbie cleaning
I can recommend you guest towels. They are very useful when you want a doll to dry, no matter if you washed her hair or just cleaned her with Q-Tips and rubbing alc. I don’t dress the dolls immediately afterwards. I really give them time to dry ( often over night, often a whole day). Then you can be sure that you wont get any problems with water still somewhere on the doll body. Another advantage is that you can wash the little towels easily. They don’t need as much space in the washing machine as a normal towel needs. Even if there is a stain caused by a doll, it’s no problem because it’s just a guest towel. ( I never had this problem myself )
In my next article I’d like to continue where I stopped last week with the hair topic. Repair is not limited to hair. There are other problems every collector has to deal with like green ears.
The awful green ears
I think there’s almost nobody out there who doesn’t know the problem – green ears – just awfuuuuuuuuuuuuul. It’s not only a problem of Vintage Barbie limited to the years 1959 until 1967. Nope, that’s also a problem of modern collector Barbie dolls with earrings. By the way the problem exists in the human world too. When you buy earrings but not made out of silver or gold, you buy the problem. Costume jewelry earrings tend to have this problem because the metal reacts with our skin. We can’t exclude to sweat or transpire. As long as we do so the problem will occur. In the case of Barbie it’s similar. She can’t sweat but the rubber of the head is/was in permanent contact with the earrings. I don’t know exactly what the early earrings with the pearl ends were made of. I guess it was copper or a similar metal because copper tends to show green discolorations after a while. Think of church roofs. In Germany we have many clock towers roofs or bell towers roofs made out of copper.
Why green ears appear
I think the copper reaction works like this … when the roofs are exposed to nature for a while with sunshine, rain, snow, hail, frost and wind the copper reacts with all the wheather influences. It seems that it’s very a similar thing with the Barbie earrings. The reaction doesn’t come immediately but after a while. Let’s say the child stopped to play with her early Barbie and the Barbie was stored in a garage or on an attic, not really exposed to the elements but let’s say the roof is not well isolated and when there is frost the doll also is exposed to it. Frost has to do with water that changed its physical state then we should have no doubts that the reaction of the earrings comes from the water/humidity on the attic. These early earrings were not tested for any green effects on dolls. As I read again today it was all a matter of costs. It was easy to produce in Japan because the wages were low after WWII there. When we guess they used cheap earrings it’s very clear why the phenomenon appears. They used cheap metal. In the early years Barbie was just produced as a toy, not considered for collectors.
How we can solve the problem and treat the ears
Now that we know the reason why the green ears appear, we can solve the problem. Nevertheless the biggest problem is that Mattel used different chemical mixtures for the heads. It seems that the material changed a bit from doll to doll. Bubble Cut Barbie dolls are easy to cure. When you want to learn how to fix them just buy Clearasil cream and smear it onto the ears and put the doll in the sun. The more sun, the better.
With Ponytail Swirl Barbie dolls it’s another story. Although I’m no chemist I assume that the material is different. Why? I tested it and I got a great Ponytail Swirl with original hair do but she had green ears. I wanted to treat her. Result? The procedure lasted more than two summers. In the first one I hardly put her outside on my balcony because I was afraid of forgetting her. In 2017 my Bubble Cut head was stolen by a bird after forgetting it on the balcony over night. That was not what I wanted for my Ponytail Swirl. So sad if she had been stolen. My plan this year was to put her outside in the sun but only for the time I was at home. My first test last year contained Clearasil cream, Benzaknen ( a cream for acne treatment with 10% peroxid for bleaching available in Germany), Remove Zit. I stared with Clearsil and then came to the idea that Clearsil does not work here. So I changed to Benzaknen, had to stop my test during the winter and wait for spring since the winter here is always very foggy and sunless. This spring I put her in the sun with fresh Benzanknen, changed it every day but I had only little success. I wanted to use Remove Zit as well but the summer was over before I had the time to do so. From my experiences on Superstar Barbie I can say that Zit leaves ugly stains. You need another chemical counterpart to get rid of the stains. That’s why I’m careful with Remove Zit.
That was the first video I made about the Ponytail Swirl green ear problem but had no idea that it would last that long to cure her. In the meantime I removed the green ears. A hint from another collector helped. She used Poliboy Gold & Silberbad for her head and the green ears vanished within 14 days. I had similar success. One of my books recommend Haggerty Silver bath for the treatment. Two products available in different countries under different names? Other collectors from the USA have reported that they use CLR (Calcium Lime Rust remover) with the old formula and had success too. A video with my results is planned in the next weeks about my success. I still have to do some X-mas present preparations before I can come back and do full time video cutting.
Problems with the availability of products
I heard from some other collectors that not all products I refered to in this article are globally available. We can e.g. buy liquids like CLR only with a ton of difficulties. We have to pay for shipment, go to the donahue and pay VAT. The limit to import goods for free ends at 22 € including shipping. Poliboy is not available in the USA. That’s why I double checked my books and found Haggerty. Maybe the information is useful to some of you. Remove Zit is hard to get in Germany and the dealer want very much money for it. I got mine several years ago and paid around 30€ . The best before date is soon after you buy it. There’s no label with ingredients on the box.
How to get rid of the problem
Remove the earrings from the head. Treat the head like described above. Some collectors use transparent nail polish before they use the earrings again and paint them with nail polish so that the head and the earring have no contact with each other. You can just let them out and put them on the doll stand.
When a modern Collector Barbie has signs of green ears, remove the earrings and put them in a little bag. Try to avoid contact with the clothing of the doll. I put them in little zipper plastic bags in the box of the doll. Don’t treat the dolls, just let them rest in their boxes. The green often vanishes itself without any procedure. I’ve done a video on this topic too.
When you’re a collector of LEO India Barbie dolls, this information is helpful to you too. I recommend to remove the earrings of Indian Barbie dolls as well because the golden earrings are made of some real metal that can cause pale heads. Only a few collectors know about the problem. Whenever you get Barbie dolls from India take the earrings out.
Some Barbie collectors do repairs themselves and some don’t. The ones who repair the dolls maybe consider themselves as very talented. That’s often not the truth. Some of them only have better techniques and know what things to use for Barbie repair. Sometimes you only need the faith to believe in what you’re doing. Some of the things exist in every household.
I don’t want to go too much in depth in this article. I just want you give an overview what is possible to do diy.
Hair repair & restoration
It is not so hard to repair Barbie hair. The only exceptions are melted hair and Color Magic Barbie hair. Color Magic hair is very fragile or it at least has become very fragile over the decades. We shouldn’t forget that it’s fifty years old now. Frizzy Barbie hair can easily be treated with conditioner. You put the conditioner in and work your way through the hair with a comb. The hair should be lovely after treatment again. I made a video about frizzy hair some months ago. Just watch it and you’ll understand how easy it is to do. It’s a great method to remove tangles.
Another thing you can do with Barbie hair is to restore a gone hair style like the flips from the 1960s and 1970s. The curls can appear again when you know the little tricks how to do them. Another example I’d like to show you is my Francie flip video. In this video I show you what to use as little curlers for her hair.
That’s not all you can do yourself. No, I’m no professional hairdresser but I learned in the last decade a lot about Barbie hair. So, what can you do when the hair is cut? Then you have two options. You can make the best out of the cut or you can give her a reroot. A reroot is practically to give her new hair.
For a reroot you can use replacement hair. You can buy hair for Barbie dolls in several shops online. I can give you the name of some of them like restoredoll.com ( have ordered there myself), I bought a lot from mylittlecustoms.com ( but the shop is almost sold out every time I look around). There are several other online shops for Barbie hair but I have not bought from all of them. When I buy hair, I order a lot of hair and then I have a stock at home. I used the loop & lock technique for rerooting (giving Barbie new hair). It’s what the sewing machine in the factories did ( but much faster).
Problems with Superstar Barbie dolls
Of course please don’t forget to plan enough time and use the right needles for your restoration. The ones I use are called “doll needles”. It’s a pack that contains three needles. I use the shortest of all three. The other two are bigger and I don’t want to destroy or enlarge any precut holes in the head. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s a hard task. You often find the problem with the holes when you work with late Superstar Barbie dolls. They have so many holes and so many hair that it’s very difficult to keep everything in perfect condition.
Another problem can dissolving make up be. In some Barbie faces the make up comes off. Certain countries are known to have this problem like Spain. US versions usually don’t have the problem. So don’t say I haven’t warned you. Maybe I can figure out the origin of the problem in the next weeks. Anyway I’d like to give you this information before it’s too late. When the make up of Barbie starts to crumble within a reroot it’s hard to stop.
Incredible possibilities to be creative
Doing reroots can give you incredible possibilities to make OOAK Barbie dolls. You can use any color you find for your reroot but I recommend to use Saran or Nylon hair with good quality. Why? The hair looks more natural than cheap wig hair for carnival. You can buy the length you want and need. You can mix different hair colors. Creating unique Barbie dolls is no problem. The only thing you need for this is your fantasy.
In general it’s no problem to insert new lashes to old Barbie dolls. I recommend to use a normal needle for the replacement. I’ve used black Saran hair for my restorations yet. Insert long hair. It’s easier to work with long hair than short hair. Don’t forget that you can always cut the hair afterwards. My technique here is also the lock and loop technique.
That’s the easiest technique imitating a sewing machine with your hands. It’s clear that not everybody has a special sewing machine for hair at home. These machines need lots of space and are very expensive. The easiest way to solve the problem with your hands with the lock & loop technique.
I’d like to share another article about my Barbie wiki today on another sister of Barbie called Kelly. Kelly is in variation still today available on the market but I’m not so much interested in the new doll called Chelsea. The name was changed to Chelsea in 2011.
I’m going to give you all information I found and know about Barbie’s baby sister Kelly and her early years. Baby sister Kelly was available in 1994. She was developed by Carol Spencer, a longtime Mattel employee, who started her career in the 1960s at Mattel. As far as I was able to find out Kelly her very own project. She wrote about this time in her recently published book called “Dressing Barbie“.
Love at first sight with Shelly
I really loved the doll the first time I saw her in a catalog. She was so cute and I decided that I wanted to buy everything I could find for and about Kelly. That was in 1995. And from the early years I have almost everything in my collection.
Carol designed all her clothes. Kelly was known as Shelly in Europe and Canada. Maybe a decision for better sales figures? I have no idea why they changed her name for the European market but in 1995 she was also available in Europe too. I would estimate that she was approximately three or four years old in 1995. The first edition of Kelly “Bedtime Fun Kelly” included a Kelly doll with a pink pyjama and a baby bed. She also came with a Sunday dress made out of black velvet and lots of toys . A short while later she got three friends. They were called Susie, Chelsea and Melody.
Ein Beitrag geteilt von ??????? (@gomgomsister) am
They reminded me of a comic
I’m not sure but I think in 1995 there was also a very big gift set with Barbie, Skipper, Stacie and Kelly having fun on a big sleigh known as Winter Holiday gift set. This set it very special because Skipper is one of the few dolls with the back then recently newly introduced Pizza Hut face mold which is lovely but different from the mold that was used before. Kelly in her snow suit always reminded me of character of a Japanese comic series inspired by Louisa May Alcotts “Little Women”. Maybe that’s why I wanted the set but I’m not sure. I had no set with all four sisters until then.
Ein Beitrag geteilt von Lena (@barbiepaupererika) am
Many sets and dolls became available
Later in 1996 there was the first Barbie Kelly gift sets called Strolling Fun Barbie and Kelly this set came with a stroller. Shelly was able to move her on arm while sitting in the stroller. In 1997 there was another Kelly Barbie gift set called Shopping Fun gift set. In this set Kelly sat in her shopping cart. She had magnet in in her hand. She was able to hold a pair of prepared boxes (also with a magnet). In 1996 she was also produced as Bathing Fun Shelly. I found two variations in pink and yellow for the trim of her towel and bathrobe. I also found variations in the dolls themselves. One of my Bathing Fun Shellys has Saran hair and the other one has Kanekalone hair.
In 1997 she got her potty training set. The Potty Training Kelly has a bottle you could really fill with water and then push on the heart button on her belly to make her pee. I think it was a similar mechanism like used for the drink and wet dolls but in a much tinier execution.
Carol Spencer produced several very sweet clothing sets for her in in the first years. I have made lots of pics of early outfits which you can find here http://barbie.final-memory.org/my-shellykelly-fashion-show/. These sets very not only available for Kelly but in in a combination for Barbie and Kelly. They got matching styles.
There was also Pool fun series shown in advertisements. I had a long time problems to find out if this series was produced or or if it was was only a prototype shown in the advertisement (like often in catalogs in the 1990s). In 2007 or 2008 I finally found her and her friends and I know this series was produced and I got mine. http://barbie.final-memory.org/a-first-impression-of-my-shellykelly-collection/
Kelly goes abroad
Eating Fun Shelly/Kelly was introduced in 1997 but I can’t tell you how the mechanism works since mine is still in box. After that came in 1997 there was another set with all four sisters called “Travelin Fun Sisters” https://images.app.goo.gl/Cj4XFoZgRGVNEkh48. Last year I furthermore found the Power wheels Jeep set with Shelly and Tommy (male baby counterpart for Kelly). In box this set is hard to find and it’s often very expensive. So I had to wait a long time until I found one.
I have for example many sets of early Kelly/Shelly sets. I’m going to divide this article in at least two parts. Next part is coming soon.
This week I continue my series with my little wiki of Barbie, her family and friends. I’m going to write a little bit of the male friends of Barbie over the last decades. Her boyfriend, called Ken, was available first in 1961. There was a big demand for something like a male friend or a boyfriend, as the literature says. I don’t know if it is true or not but some sources report about Ken that there were three prototypes of the doll with different male genitals or intimations but only the the weakest intimation made it into production. It was regarded as very offensive for girls at the age of 10 or older to see a replica of nature. The society was not ready to deal with replicas of nature. So the logical conclusion is that Ken and his friends are eunuchs until their end?
Ken doll, the first one
In 1961 Ken doll became available. He was designed as a male friend or more, depending on the fantasy of the girl who owned him. At first he was marketed a doll for boys. Ruth Handler did not want to limit the fantasy of children during their plays. This can, of course, seen as an attempt to sell a wider variety of dolls to different children (female and male ones). Obviously this did not work out as planned. Girls found the male doll as attractive as Barbie doll. The sales figures were not bad but the target group was refocused. Early TV ads are a good example for this theory. Only the 1961 Ken came with flocked hair. The later versions came with painted hair. There was almost every year a re-issue of Ken until 1966.
In 1964 Allan was released as a male friend for Midge, Barbie’s best friend. So the four could go on a double date like in real life. I think from today’s point of view it’s a bit old-fashioned but I think in the 60s it was wide-spread. Allan disappeared in the late 1960s until he came back to a new generation of little girls when he and Midge celebrated their wedding (after a relationship of 25 years). Then he was suddenly gone for almost 10 years and came back in 2002 to become father (after almost 40 years of relationship). After the Happy Family play set time was over, he disappeared again. If you see him, greet him and say we kind of miss him.
After Allan was gone, Brad came. Brad was the male friend or boyfriend of Christie. Brad, Christie and the black Francie were the first black Barbie dolls available. Today they are highly sought after. Then after Brad came Curtis, a male friend of Cara. His availability was also very limited to two years in the early 1970s.
Ein Beitrag geteilt von Mandy G (@my.dreams.are.pink) am
Ken got real hair
Ken got eventually real hair (like Barbie doll) in the 1970s, one edition was the “Now Look Ken” in 1975 and the other one was “Sport and Shave Ken” in 1979. Groovy. The next Ken with real hair was the “Totally Hair/Ultra Hair Ken” in 1991 and “Shaving Fun Ken” in 1995 or 1996, then the Ken of “Butterfly Princess Barbie” also had real hair and a late 90s version of the Shaving Ken too. All the other editions had painted hair. Ken was constantly available and a reliable companion until 2004. Suddenly Ken and Barbie were separated and Barbie got a new boyfriend called Blaine but their relationship did not last that long. At the begin of this decade there was a reunion of Barbie and Ken.
In 1981 the Sunsational Malibu Ken (black version) was the first official black Ken. I read about it that it became possible due to changed laws in 1980. A hispanic version of Ken was available in 1983, the Sun Gold Malibu Ken (hispanic version).
In 1982 Ken got a friend called Todd ( not sure if Todd from Tutti and Todd grew up or if this is another character). In 1986 he got a new friend called Derek (Rocker Derek).
Skipper also got a male friend or boyfriend in 1979 called Scott but he disappeared again in 1980. Later in the early 1990s she got a new companion called Kevin from around 1990 until 1995. Unfortunately I was not able to find more information about Kevin.
My post from last week inspired me to write more about Barbie dolls friends and family. In my article I’m talking about Stacey and Stacie.
Stacey had her first appearance in 1967 as Barbie’s Talking friend/Barbie’s friend from England. The Talking Stacey doll was spoken by Gwen Florea, who wrote a very nice book about her time at Mattel in the 60s and 70s. I was unfortunately too late to talk to her. It was only a short while before she died. Bad luck …
Ein Beitrag geteilt von Lena (@barbiepaupererika) am
Stacey was designed as a friend of Barbie from England. She had the same size like Barbie doll and of course they were able to share clothes. Stacey brought lots of MOD(ern) clothes from the Carnaby Street in London, England to her friend Barbie. Maybe that’s how to crazy and colorful MOD clothes came into Barbie dolls wardrobe?
Stacey was available as blonde version and a red haired version ( I love this version but I don’t have one at the moment … hope that’s going to change one day..) . She was available until 1971. In 1972 she was sent to retirement… so sad … I wish they had produced her for a longer time. I can’t imagine that the sales figures were that bad.
Anyway in the early 1990s Barbie suddenly got a sister called Stacie. I would say she was approx. 10 years old in the good old time. She was a twin and had a twin brother called Todd ( who somehow reminded me of the Todd from the 1960s, Tutti’s twin brother). One of my thoughts was that she should maybe present a kind of a modern Tutti. Stacie could first be seen at the time Midge became a bride. She was sold at Toys r us together with Todd as flower girl and ring bearer. There was also a big gift set for the Midge Wedding with Stacie, Todd, Midge, Alan, Barbie and Ken. I think she reappeared one or two years later a steady character of the Barbie family and got an own clothing line, friends Janet and Whitney and disappeared around 2000. So one could think she was sent into retirement before she became a teenager?
Obviously she came back in the last decade but her character was changed. She became older and appeared in the Barbie movies. In the meantime she was sold as a doll again.
In 1964 Barbie got a sister called Skipper. She was the first member of Barbie doll’s big family. (Just for the case if you don’t know it the family grew until 1999 when Krissy was born). I wonder how old Barbie’s mother was when Barbie was born and she was 40 years older when Krissy was born, a wonder of fertility !!!
No, just kidding a little bit. When Skipper came out in 1964 she was available in blond and brunette. Sadly not as a red haired version …
Until 1971 her look was not changed very much. The first change of her face I think came when she was available as Living Skipper. Her hair style also changed a bit. In her history her body was also changed several times. One of the most controverse Skipper dolls was the Growing Up Skipper (available, I did a little bit of research https://youtu.be/9LuI0W8SmzY) in 1975. She has a mechanism inside her body and when you twist her arm in the right direction her body grows and she gets breasts. From a technical point of view very interesting since this mechanism works in my Growing Up Skipper until today, so it must be a very simple but effective mechanism with a spring I think (just from the sounds I hear when I move her arms). Her body also changes a bit. She becomes taller.
In the late 1970s Skipper changed again. She became known as “Super Teen Skipper” in comparison to Superstar Barbie. In the late 70s everything became “super”. She got a new face and a new body. I think there are hardly two Skipper dolls that have the same size in my collection. I don’t know the exact number of how often face and body were changed but the longer the dolls were available the more often face and body changed. The 80s finally brought us Hot Stuff Skipper with another face and body and in 1988 she got a new face again. She got her “Kulleraugen“-face as we call it in Germany. She got a face that reminded me of Japanese comics even before I knew how there were called. Nobody told us that when we watched Japanese comic TV series. These early series from the late 70s or early to mid 80s series came to us with a great delay but Skipper looked in a perfect way to what we all watched in TV back then. I really loved the comic like eyes of Skipper but in the mid 1990s her look changed again. The “Pizza Hut”Skipper got a new head mold and another body. This version was only used for a short time. I got her back then as “Phone fun” Skipper.
Shortly after we got to see “Phone fun” Skipper she suddenly grew up to the same size like Barbie doll. Her new name was Teen Skipper, again new head mold and new body. She somehow lost her outward appearance of a 13 year old girl and became at least 16 years. A very nice version of this Skipper can be seen of her in the Slumber Party Skipper. After the arrival of the year 2000 she suddenly disappeared from the screen for nearly a decade.
Then she was suddenly available again . In 2010 we saw her again in a gift set from Target, being a bridesmaid and in 2012 with colorful hair. It seems that she is available on a permanent basis again in 2019. When you google her, you’ll find her but it seems that she’s between 15 and 17 years now.
More about Skipper
She was born as Skipper Millicent Roberts. She was originally designed as a 12 or 13 year old teenage girl. She was requested by Barbie owners who wanted another doll to play with beside Midge and Ken. By the way Skipper was the door to younger girls who were maybe no teenagers at the time (Yeah, in the early 1960s lots of teenagers had Barbie dolls. I know this may sound strange to you. Nowadays Barbie becomes uninteresting when children leave the kindergarten and go to school.) Skipper had many friends during the different decades starting with Skooter and Ricky in the 60s , Courtney, Kevin, Nikki became later friends with her.
I’m not sure if I can give you the name of all countries where Barbie is available but I’ll try to let you what I know and I think it’s more than the linked article says.
I’ll give you a list. That’s probably easier to read than a text.
Japan ( she was released there in the early 1960s and was produced by Mattel only until 1980 but then there were several companies like Takara (by the way I have a Takara Barbie) , Ma-Ba (Mattel-Bandai cooperation), Bandai and after 1995 Mattel produced there for the Japanese market again)
Germany ( since the early 1960s, hard to find a Nr. 1 from 1959)
Sweden ( she was sold under the name of Brio ( little wooden model train) first in the early 60s)
Spain ( under license produced by Congost in Spain since the late 70s until the early 90s, later distributed by Mattel itself)
Portugal ( since the 1980s)
Mexico ( under license produced by CIPSA (1970s) and Aurimat (1980s)
Brazil ( under license by Estrela)
Peru ( under license by Basa)
Venezuela ( under license by Rotoplast)
Colombia ( under license by Dibon but the company went bancrupt shortly after the begin of the production)
Argentina ( under license by Top Toys and Antex)
China ( at least they tried to enter the toy market in 2009)
(List is not complete yet, to be continued as soon as new information is available)
In other countries
We also find similar dolls like Barbie in countries like the middle east. I’m not sure who the producer is but they wear a headscarf. I’ve only seen her once or twice among collectors and she’s called Fulla. It’s not hard to find any picture of her online.
She was one of the first tries to release a curvy doll with normal body proportions. I think it was in the late 1990s or so. I’m not a clone doll collector. I simply don’t have the space to collect them beside Barbie doll.
Some of you know that I like the Congost Barbie dolls from Spain. Last year I got a Tropical Barbie from Spain but she came naked. I had the chance to get it via a Spanish Barbie collector. She arranged it that the swimsuit landed in my collection. I really like the color. It’s very different from the US version but hard to find. What makes the swimsuit different from its US version is the pattern. It’s more yellowish than the normal version while the US version has more black in the fabric. It is as elastic as the sister but it is much rarer and harder to find. You may ask yourself why. I think it is due to a smaller quantiy that was produced in spain. I was told that it is hard to find Spanish Congost Barbie dolls in good condition because the production was done cheaply and many children customized their dolls. That means the children cut the hair. I have also seen dolls with missing hands or legs. I know it’s weird. Dolls in good condition are not so easy to find. I don’t know anything about the prices but maybe they could be the missing link why some of the Spanish Congost dolls and fashions are hard to find in good conditions.