Since some of the most coveted Barbies can go for thousands of dollars at auction, it's important to understand the value of collectible Barbie dolls if you are considering buying or selling vintage Barbies. Learn about the clues that can help you identify a potentially valuable Barbie and how you can tell whether it makes sense to get her professionally appraised.
How Can You Tell if a Barbie Is Worth Money?
Most of the Barbie collectibles and Barbie dolls in people's attics aren't worth a fortune, but there are few that are truly valuable. Look for the following clues to see if yours might be:
She's From the 1950s or 1960s
According to Invaluable, the earliest Barbie dolls, which were made through the late 1960s, are among the most collectible Barbies. From the time of Barbie's debut in 1959, she has been beloved for her beauty and style. A mint condition Barbie from this era can be worth around $25,000 to collectors. Here are a few clues to help you tell if your Barbie is from this era:
- Dolls before 1972 have "Made in Japan" stamped on the bottom of one foot.
- Barbies from before 1968 often have divided fingers, since the mold at that time produced this level of detail.
- The earlies Barbies have "Barbie" stamped on one hip.
- Older Barbies have slim faces, as opposed to newer ones with rounded facial features.
- Many older Barbies have the iconic high ponytail hairstyle.
She's Still in the Box
Because the vast majority of vintage Barbies have been played with, Considerable reports that collectors love a rare Barbie that's still in the box. In-box Barbies are in mint condition with all their accessories and the original packaging. Because this is so uncommon, these coveted dolls fetch top dollar.
She's in Great Shape for Her Age
In 2019, Barbie turned 60. Some vintage examples, however, haven't fared so well. It's common to see Barbies that were well-loved but maybe not so well cared for. If you have one in excellent condition, she'll have these features:
- Smooth hair
- Skin free from marks
- Facial features bright and clear
- All accessories present
- Clothing clean and in good condition
- No bad odor
She's One of the Rare Ones
According to Reader's Digest, some collectible Barbie dolls are especially rare. These models are hard to find, so if you have one, she may be worth a lot:
- Lorainne Schwartz Barbie - This Barbie was made in 2010, so she isn't vintage. The key is that there were only 12 produced.
- City Smart Barbie - Made in 2003, this vintage-inspired Barbie is a very limited edition. There were only 600 made.
- Pink Splendor Barbie - Featuring a stunning pink gown, this Barbie from 1997 is prized by collectors. There were only 10,000 made, and it's hard to find one in great condition.
- Calvin Klein Barbie - This Barbie from 1996 is especially tough to find in mint condition, since almost all of this model were played with.
Most Valuable Barbie Dolls
Some Barbie dolls are incredibly valuable. If you're lucky enough to have one of the models in the Barbie collector price guide below, you could be holding a fashionable fortune:
- Original Barbie - The original first edition Barbie from 1959 is very rare. Money, Inc. reports that even in played-with condition, she is worth $8,000. In pristine condition, she could be worth more than $27,000.
- Stefano Canturi Barbie - This 2010 model features vintage looks and a gorgeous black dress and one-carat pink diamond necklace. There was only one made, and she was auctioned off to benefit charity. According to Canturi, she sold for $302,000.
- Modern Bride Barbie - Made in 1990, Modern Bride Barbie has a pretty floral box and a gorgeous wedding gown. One of these beauties sold on eBay for $15,000.
- Twist N' Turn Barbie - This mod Barbie from 1966 could bend her knees and twist at the waist. One still in the box sold on eBay for almost $1,800.
- Millenium Princess Barbie - The Millenium Princess Barbie, which is part of the holiday collection, was made in 2000 to commemorate the new millenium. One still in the box sold on eBay for about $1,500.
What If You Think Your Barbie Is Valuable?
If you think you might have a valuable Barbie, consider having her professionally appraised. Sometimes, you can find free local appraisals in your area, but more commonly, you'll need to pay a fee. Choose someone with good credentials and experience with appraising vintage toys so you can trust the information you receive.
Sentimental or Monetary Value
Like many collectible dolls, Barbie sometimes has more sentimental value than monetary value. If your doll was played with and loved, she may be worth more to you as a memento of childhood than as an investment. Either way, it's fun to learn more about what makes collectible Barbies valuable and exciting.