Value of Collectible Barbie Dolls

Terry Hurley
A vintage Barbie doll

The value of collectible Barbie dolls varies considerably based the individual doll, its condition and its packaging.

The Value of Collectible Barbie Dolls

Very often determining the value of a Barbie doll takes patience and research, especially if the doll is not easily identified. Before you can accurately value a Barbie doll, you must know:

  • The doll's identity
  • Issue date
  • Original outfit at the time of issuance

If you do know the dolls identity, there are many variables that you must take into consideration in determining its value.

Criteria Used To Determine the Value

The following set of criteria is generally used in finding the value of a Barbie doll on the secondary market.

  • Identity of the doll
  • Year the doll was issued
  • Condition
  • Clothing
  • Packaging
  • Secondary doll market conditions
  • Desirability

Auction Comparisons

One way to determine the value of a Barbie doll is comparing it to the current selling prices of similar dolls sold at an auction, such as eBay. By using this method, you will get the secondary market value of the doll:

  • Go to the Barbie doll section of eBay
  • Input your information in the search box and click on search
  • Once the page appears you are on the current listing, click on completed auctions
  • Check each completed auctions that are for the same doll as the one you have making sure to open the auctions in case a reserve was not met. If that is the case, the price that shows will be very low.
  • Once the page appears it is very important to find a Barbie doll exactly the same, and in the same condition, as the one you are valuing

The selling prices shown are the prices realized at auction. Those prices are a very good indication of the Barbie dolls fair market value. However, the same doll generally sells for slightly more at doll shows or doll shops since the buyers of online auction websites cannot see the doll in person.

Barbie Doll Price Guides

The prices listed in Barbie doll price guides give you the book value of the doll. This is the value the doll should, or could, sell for if all the conditions were right. The following Barbie doll price and identification guides are available from Amazon:

  • Illustrated Price Guide to Collectible Barbie Dolls by Carol Manos and Susan Paris
  • Warman's Barbie Doll Field Guide: Values and Identification by Sharon Verbeten
  • Collector's Guide to 1990s Barbie Dolls: Identification & Values by Maria Martinez
  • The Ultimate Barbie Doll Book by Marcir Melillo
  • The Complete & Unauthorized Guide to Vintage Barbie Dolls & Fashions by Hillary James
  • Barbie The First 30 Years 1959 Through 1989 by Bettina Dorfmann and Stephanie Deutsch

Abbreviations of Terms Used in Valuing Barbie Dolls

Whichever method you use to determine the value of a Barbie doll, there are several abbreviations of terms that dealers and collectors use that are important to know. These abbreviations and the terminology they stand for include:

  • NRFB - Never Removed From Box means the doll has never been taken out of the box or handled at all. The doll and all of the accessories should be wrapped and contained in the box just as it was sold.
  • MIB - Mint In Box means the doll is in mint condition but has been removed from the box and handled lightly. It should not have been played. The doll should be complete with all of its original accessories, included paperwork and wrappers.
  • MIP - Mint in Package is the term for dolls that were sold in a package not a box
  • MOC - Mint on Card is the term for dolls that were sold attached to heavy cardboard
  • Mint or M/NB - Refers to a doll that is in mint condition but does not have the box
  • NM - Near min
  • LE - Limited Edition
  • A/O - All original
  • OSS - Original swim suit
  • HTF - Hard to find

Barbie Doll Values: Monetary or Memories

When the first Barbie doll made its appearance in New York in 1959, no one knew the success that was to follow. Over the years, Barbie dolls evolved into more than just a child's toy. They became one of the hottest collectible dolls of all times. To many people, the value of collectible Barbie dolls is much more than monetary; the value is in treasured childhood memories.

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Value of Collectible Barbie Dolls