There are collectible Barbie dolls clubs, conventions, magazines, newsletters and Internet sites all devoted solely to sharing the love and fascination of Barbie. Today, the dolls are sold in more than 140 countries around the world and have become a staple in the American household.
Through the 70s and most of the 80s, play line Barbie and vintage Barbies were popular, as well as foreign Barbies. In 1986, the first porcelain Barbie was produced. This is said by some to mark the beginning of modern collectible Barbie dolls, however, most collectors believe that collectible Barbie dolls really took the market in 1988 with the introduction of the Happy Holiday series.
Few of the first Happy Holidays Barbies were produced, but became popular with many collectors looking for something new. The market for collectible Barbie dolls continued to increase as it became popular for adults to purchase Barbie dolls for the sole purpose of collecting with no intention of the dolls being used as toys. Mattel began to introduce new special edition and limited edition Barbies that follow the fashions and trends of teenagers, while at the same time appealing to the adult market by sporting fashions from designers such as Bob Mackie and Vera Wang.
The 1994 release of the 35th anniversary – vintage reproduction collectible Barbie dolls brought many new collectors. From this point on, modern any collectible Barbie was in high demand and began to be considered a “good investment.” Collectors had closets full of Barbies with the hopes of putting their kids through college.
The more modern collectibles market actually began to wane after auction sites such as eBay created a very “liquid” market by making and most dolls started to sell for less than retail on the secondary market. Even avid Barbie collectors began to lose interest in their once treasured dolls.
Advisory groups were formed and Barbie doll collectors were brought in to complete marketing questionnaires. Mattel began to focus again on the quality of the dolls, they started to manufacture new doll series and improved the play line dolls. High fashion Barbies increased interest even more and Barbie began to regain her prominence in the collectible markets.
Barbie continues to fill the hearts of collectors around the world with her perfectly shaped body and array of fashionable designs, and as always, she looks perfectly stunning!
No one could argue the fact that vintage Barbies are holding their own as one of the hottest areas of toy collecting on today’s market. Barbie was first introduced in 1959, and since then her face has changed three times. Her hair has been restyled over and over, she’s been blond and brunette, and it’s varied in length from above her shoulders to the tips of her toe She’s worn high fashion designer clothing and pedal pushers. She’s been everything from an astronaut to a veterinarian, and no matter what her changing lifestyle required, MatteI (her ‘maker’) has provided it for her.
Though even Barbie items from recent years are bought and sold with fervor, those made before 1970 are the most sought: after. You’ll need to do lots of studying and comparisons to learn to distinguish one Barbie from another, but it will payoff in terms of making wise investments. There are several books available; we recommend them all: The Wonder of Barbie and The Worid of Barbie Dolls by Paris and Susan Manos.
BARBIE dolls, the rite of passage for many young girls, may contribute to eating disorders in adolescence, according to new research.
The study found that the Barbie dolls, which are far thinner than traditional shapes, particularly at the waist, make girls want to be unrealistically slim when they grow up.
The researchers from two British universities claim Barbie dolls could promote girls’ insecurity about their image which in turn may contribute indirectly to insecurity and eating disorders later in life.
They say the study is the first to identify body worries in such young children. “This [study] demonstrates that it is not body-related information conveyed by dolls per se that has a direct impact on young girls’ body image, but by Barbie dolls specifically, which represent a distortedly thin body ideal,” says the study, led by Helga Dittmar, reader in psychology at Sussex University.
“These ultra-thin images not only lowered young girls’ body esteem but also decreased their satisfaction with their actual body size, making them desire a thinner body.”
Dr Margaret Ashwell, science consultant and former director of the British Nutrition Foundation, said: “These results are very important and show that children can be influenced at a very early age. We need to be aware of that and take the appropriate action.”
The researchers say their findings suggest schools should educate the youngest children, as well as adolescents, about the risks of being too worried about having an “ideally” thin body shape. “Such programmes need to make girls aware that the thin beauty ideal is unattainable and unhealthy,” adds the study.
The researchers claim that fewer than one in 100,000 women has the thin body shape of the Barbie doll.
In the study, reported in the journal Developmental Psychology, the researchers from Sussex and the University of the West of England looked at the effects of images of two dolls on almost 200 primary school-age girls aged five to eight.
They were shown images of different figures, including Barbie and Emme, a new American doll whose body proportions represent a larger body shape.
After they had been shown the images, the girls were asked to pick figures that represented their actual body shape, the body shape they ideally desired and their ideal body shape as an adult woman.
The difference between the shape girls thought they had and the shape they wanted was then analysed. The results showed that girls aged five to six were more dissatisfied with their shape and wanted more extreme thinness after seeing Barbie doll images than after seeing other pictures. For those aged six to seven the negative effects were even stronger.
A spokesman for Mattel, which manufactures Barbie, said: “Barbie allows girls to dream that they can be anything they want to be when they grow up. Barbie is not modelled in human scale and we will continue to talk to girls and mums and monitor their opinions.”
Additional reporting: Laura St Quinton